Dexcom's G4 Platinum CGMS (Continued)
A Sleeker Receiver Design
Kelly and Adam's Favorites
- Lighter, thinner, and cooler-looking
- A bright color screen that is especially useful for seeing time in range
- More customizable alarms
- Louder alarms
- A micro-USB port for charging and uploading data
The G4 Platinum has a completely new receiver profile that is 30% lighter and 59% smaller than the larger Seven Plus receiver (4 in x 1.8 in x 0.5 in and 2.4 ounces vs. 4.5 in x 2.3 in x 0.85 in and 3.5 ounces). The most noticeable size improvement comes in thickness — at 0.5 inches, the G4 Platinum receiver is particularly easier and more comfortable to wear in a pants pocket than the Seven Plus. More generally, the look and feel of the receiver is just smoother and sleeker — it looks more like an MP3 player than a medical device. We'll be surprised if we ever get an "is that a beeper?" comment with the G4 Platinum.
We've seen lately more and more diabetes devices with color screens, and we were psyched to see that the G4 Platinum is no exception. Seeing CGM data in color is a meaningful improvement over the gray Seven Plus receiver screen. The G4 Platinum's screen is high contrast, full color, and easy to see in most lighting conditions. We particularly valued the coloring on the home screen trend graph, which colors hypoglycemic values in red, in-range values in white, and hyperglycemic values in yellow (ranges are set by user and can be changed in the settings menu). Seeing the trend graphs in color made it very easy to see how much time we were spending in range vs. out of range and made it particularly easy to spot problematic times of the day with lots of hypo- or hyperglycemia.
The G4 Platinum receiver has two other valuable improvements over the Seven Plus. First, the alarms are much louder and more customizable through the addition of a "Profiles" menu. It's still possible to sleep through them, but we both found we're more likely to wake up and respond at night with the G4 Platinum than with the Seven Plus. The other big improvement is the inclusion of a micro-USB Port for charging the battery and uploading data to the new PC-based Studio software (unfortunately still not Mac compatible). Micro- and mini-USB cables have been part of the last five devices we've test driven (Tandem's t:slim pump, LifeScan's OneTouch Verio IQ, Abbott's FreeStyle InsuLinx, Sanofi's iBGStar, Telcare's meter), which is great — the fewer different cables, the better (especially since micro- and mini-USB cables are also commonly used for cell phones, cameras, and other consumer electronics). Although Kelly lost ("misplaced temporarily") the charger that came with her G4 Platinum, we were able to patch one together using the wall outlet plug from a Verio IQ meter and the cable from a FreeStyle InsuLinx meter. Now that's interoperability!
We encountered two main drawbacks to the new receiver. First, similar to the Seven Plus, the G4 Platinum trend graph on the home screen displays a range from 0-400 mg/dl. For many patients that don't typically have excursions that go up to 400 mg/dl, this means that much of the home screen is wasted, unused black space. Lamentably, we believe this is an FDA requirement, and we hope it will be customizable on CGMs in the future. One change that we really don't yet like is that the time of day has now been moved to the bottom right of the x-axis on the trend graph. It's still there, but it's not as large or as noticeable as it was on the Seven Plus home screen.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...