The beauty of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) is that you can easily share and save information with your healthcare team and loved ones. But when that malfunctions, what do you do?
Reuters and the New York Times reported that Dexcom continuous glucose monitors experienced a major outage in their Dexcom Follow app this past weekend.
Parents of children with type 1 diabetes have become reliant on the Dexcom device to send alarms to their phone during the night to alert them of dangerous changes to blood sugar levels. Blood sugar lows during the night can lead to a coma and be a life or death situation. Blood sugar high can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis, which can also be deadly.
Since the Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor became available, many parents have stopped waking up during the night to check their children’s levels. Now many are wondering whether they can rely on this technology to safely alert them of blood glucose fluctuations.
What is a CGM?
A continuous glucose monitoring device is a small device that affixes to your skin and allows you to track blood glucose levels all day and night. It connects wirelessly to an app that allows you to track data over time and send stats to your doctor and caregivers. CGMs are especially helpful for people with type 1 diabetes, and can also be very helpful in those with type 2 for either constant or occasional continuous glucose monitoring.
Dexcom Follow outage
The service outage of the Dexcom Follow app started around midnight on Friday (November 29, 2019). Dexcom did not notify users until around 11 am Eastern Saturday morning, making thousands of patients and parents angry. If users had been notified, they would have known to check their children throughout the night.
Dexcom G6 among most used CGMs
Dexcom’s G6 CGM is one of the most popular monitors among those with type 1, along with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre and other devices from Medtronic and Senseonics.
Dexcom is not sure why the outage occurred, stating that they were not updating their systems when it happened. Chief technology officer Jake Leach stated that the outage happened because the servers became overloaded, according to the New York Times. It is unclear how many users were affected.
One similar outage occurred with Dexcom’s Follow app on December 31, 2018, and was resolved quickly.
Dexcom has been reporting updates on Facebook, but as of Monday, December 2, 2019, all services are still not restored. Dexcom is working with Microsoft and Google to fully resolve the issue, and the FDA is aware of the outage as well.