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The Dexcom G7 continuous glucose monitor (CGM) received FDA clearance in December 2022 for people with type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes ages 2 and up. The highly anticipated technology became available nationwide on February 17, 2023.
This week, Dexcom also presented research on the G7 at the 16th international Advanced Technology and Treatments for Diabetes (ATTD) conference, which was held in Berlin, Germany on February 22-25.
Here, we’ll look at the new features of the new G7 and Dexcom’s latest research!
Highlights of the Dexcom G7
The G7 is far more than just an upgraded G6. The entire Dexcom technology got a major makeover in the G7 — including a new algorithm, easier insertion process, improved app, and customizable alert settings.
“Many of the G7’s features are based on user feedback — especially regarding alert fatigue,” explained Jake Leach, Dexcom’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President.
Alert fatigue — defined simply as a person being tired of the many daily alerts they receive from diabetes technology — is a relatively new problem that makers of diabetes technology and healthcare professionals are figuring out how to address.
Here are some of the G7’s newest features:
- 60% smaller than the G6: This is the smallest Dexcom sensor, approximately the size of three stacked quarters.
- 30-minute warm-up period: This 30-minute warm-up period is the shortest warm-up period of any CGM technology on the market!
- Delay 1st High Alert: This new feature allows you to delay the first “high alert” for situations where you anticipate going above range momentarily. For example, if you’re eating a meal that you expect will send your blood sugar above your target range, you can tell your CGM to not alert you unless your blood sugar stays above range for a specific amount of time.
- Silence All: This feature allows you to silence all phone alerts, particularly after treating a low blood sugar. First, you acknowledge the initial low alert, so the CGM knows that you’re aware you are low. Then you can tell your CGM to stay silent for the next hour, for example, if you know you’re in an important meeting and don’t want the noisy interruption. *This feature will be available in the U.S. in late 2023 via an eventual software update in the Dexcom app.
- All-in-one transmitter and sensor: This is a big step forward in simplifying the process of setting up a new sensor, reducing the number of pieces to keep track of, and reducing overall packaging. You no longer need to purchase and keep track of a separate transmitter and sensor. The transmitter and sensor are now one piece with an easier one-handed insertion process.
- 12-hour grace period: When your sensor ends on day 10, the G7 offers you the option of an additional half day if you can’t change your sensor when it first expires.
- Cleared for use during pregnancy: The G7 is the only CGM technology that is officially cleared for use during pregnancy.
- “Overpatch” included with each sensor: This thin protective patch comes with each sensor, giving you a little more security around your day-to-day real life — helping you get the full 10 days out of every sensor.
Dexcom’s research at ATTD ‘23 in Berlin
There’s no question that CGMs have changed the day-to-day quality of life and safety of living with T1D. Dexcom’s G6 sensor continues to demonstrate the benefits of CGM technology in their recent research presented at ATTD.
This symposium included a glimpse into a new algorithm Dexcom’s “Type Zero” team is developing. Referred to as “The Liberty System,” this algorithm is a fully closed-loop system that takes automated insulin delivery to the next level. Users won’t have to bolus for meals, adjust for exercise, etc. The fully closed-loop algorithm is intended to increase time-in-range, ensure you don’t miss meal boluses, and more. It’s being developed for use with Control-IQ in Tandem’s t:slim insulin pump.
This symposium focused on the impact of using a CGM in people with T2D. Dexcom’s research found that using a CGM significantly improved time-in-range and A1c levels in people with T2D without making any changes to their medication dosages. Instead, the data from the CGM gave them valuable awareness of changes they can make around food, exercise, and other lifestyle choices.
This symposium discussed the benefits of using a CGM and closed-loop insulin delivery system for in-patient diabetes management. This research started during the pandemic when nursing staff qualified to manage blood sugar levels and insulin doses were limited while ICU beds were taken up by COVID-19 patients. By using CGM technology with closed-loop pumps, diabetes management was significantly more feasible and safer.
How the Dexcom ONE is increasing CGM access in other countries
The Dexcom ONE is a new member of the Dexcom product line — it is a significantly simplified and more affordable CGM. It launched in early 2022 in a variety of countries, but will not be available in the U.S.
“We’re also offering the Dexcom ONE in countries that have never had CGM technology available,” explains Leach. “In the U.S., we feel that the G7 can serve that need because 99% of insurance plans cover Dexcom, many with zero out-of-pocket costs.”
“The Dexcom ONE sensor is intended to be more affordable, more accessible, and an overall simpler experience,” adds Leach.
Despite the many benefits of using the G6 or G7 technology, far too many people with diabetes still cannot afford the most advanced sensors due to insurance denials, lack of insurance, and costly copays with insurance.
Getting the G7 with Private Insurance or Medicare
The latest and greatest technology usually comes with a hefty price tag, but Dexcom has focused on making it easier to get the G7 regardless of your insurance coverage:
- If you have insurance: Dexcom offers a pharmacy savings program that can help curb the monthly co-pay costs.
- If you live at or below the poverty line: Dexcom also offers a patient assistance program.
- If you’re on Medicare: Current coverage is for those taking both bolus and basal insulin.6 Expanded coverage expected in late 2023.
“Medicare recently announced coverage for the G7 for ‘intensive insulin users’,” explains Leach. This means those with diabetes who take both basal and bolus insulin.
“We do expect coverage for those who use only basal insulin eventually,” Leach adds, regarding people with T2D who only take one type of insulin.
Leach emphasizes that the benefits of CGM technology are clear, but there’s still work to be done on driving awareness and education to the decision makers. For example, this means educating healthcare professionals and insurance providers on the critical benefits of a CGM for people with T2D.
Further education for healthcare professionals on the value for all people with T1D is needed, too.
Unfortunately, research from the T1D Exchange Quality Improvement Collaborative (T1DX-QI) continues to demonstrate that people with certain racial and ethnic backgrounds have the least access to this technology, and it inevitably affects their ability to reach blood glucose goals and manage their overall well-being.
“With the global launch,” adds Leach, “we’re really excited about more people using CGM based on the ease of use and performance of this technology.”
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The marketing guys are finally listening, listening to what we the people experience and desire.
The moral of this story, as in many worthwhile stories is: “Listen first. Then listen again. Then talk, think, and re-design.”