Aiming for easy and safe remote glucose monitoring for diabetic children

HUS Helsinki University Hospital and Sitra along with partners have launched a project to develop a safe method of transferring data from the monitoring devices of diabetic children to their parents and the hospital.

Every year around 500 children receive type 1 diabetes diagnosis in Finland. Roughly 150 of them live inside the HUS hospital district.

“Diabetes is a life-long condition and places a significant strain on a child’s everyday life. To maintain their child’s blood glucose at a level that is as safe as possible, the family must make several care choices a day,” says Chief Physician Päivi Miettinen from HUS Helsinki University Hospital's Department of Children and Adolescents.

Blood glucose levels can be monitored with an intradermal glucose monitor, which allows parents to monitor their child’s glucose levels continuously without pricking the child’s finger for blood samples. The glucose level can be checked with a sensor that is placed on the skin or remotely via a smart watch, for example.

“This has dramatically improved our family's quality of life. Parents can support the child’s diabetes care remotely and there is no need to constantly worry or call the child to ask about their glucose levels,” says Sulka Haro, whose 8-year-old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes six years ago.

For the moment, the current system’s weakness is that monitoring data is not transferred to health care providers. The goal of the recently launched project is to create a system to enable transferring data from the child’s treatment devices, glucose sensor and insulin pump, in a protected manner to entities the family wishes to authorize to monitor the data.

“To succeed in this, we are building an integrated authorization process within the system and working towards secure data transfer. It is beneficial for the patient’s treatment and monitoring that their physician receives the data as quickly as possible,” says Project Manager Birgit Paajanen.

Extensive collaborative project

The project involves diabetic children and their guardians from the Nightscout network. The project is developed in co-operation with the CleverHealth Network and partners: CGI, Tieto, the Finnish Population Register Centre, Patria, Elisa, Nokia, Gofore and HUS.

The project seeks open source code solutions in accordance with Sitra’s IHAN® project and a standardized model for authorization. Sitra’s IHAN® project is developing fair and functioning data use based on personal authorization, and comprehensive European-level ground rules.

Further information