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Blinded vs Unblinded CGM Usage

2012 August 4
Blinded vs Unblinded Data

During one of the Roche Social Media Summit sessions, the idea of blinded vs unblinded data was brought up. I’m not going to go into detail on why it was brought up or in regards to what product, because I just want to discuss the concept as a whole.

First, let me explain what blind vs unblinded data is. Blinded data, in regards to diabetes, is data that is collected in which the patient does not have direct access to. For example, if a patient is put on a 7 day trial of a Dexcom (or other CGM) to either trial the product or to have a 24 hour look at a patient’s blood sugar levels. This data will be used by the doctors to make a decision on your treatment plan. If the data is blinded then you as the patient cannot see the real time data, but will be shown graphs by the doctor after the determined time frame has passed.

Unblinded data is obviously the opposite of that and allows the patient to see the data while they are wearing the CGM in this example.

Now that we know what we are talking about, let’s dig into the debate of it. As a patient, I want all the data that I can have. I am a “data geek”, but even if you aren’t you should still have access to it. Whether you do anything with the data, at least it is there. Some people get overwhelmed with too much data and dont know what to do with it all. Data overload.

So, I am pro-data. But, I admit, the blinded side of things makes a bit of sense too. Here’s an example of how I think the blinded data is better than the patient having access to the data real time.  Let’s say that there is a patient that doesn’t really understand how a CGM works or how the trends of their blood sugars are working.  They also may not understand insulin on board or any of the other factors that can take some training and understanding to master the usage of a CGM.  So, if this patient doesn’t have the full training because they are only wearing it for 3-4 days for their endo to see some trends, then there could be more damage than good from the patient seeing the data.

This patient could see a high blood sugar, but not understand the double arrows down, so they take insulin and next thing ya know, they are going down with a low blood sugar.  You may say, well they would see the same high blood sugar if they tested at that time.  Well, they may have not tested for another hour or so and the blood sugar would be back down to a more normal level and prevent the correction bolus. Does this make sense, because it does in my head.

So, there are positives and negatives to the blinded vs unblinded data.

Where do you stand?

**Disclosure: Roche paid my travel to and from Indianapolis, along with all meals and hotel. Roche also has paid ads throughout this site. The views and opinions in this post are 100% entirely mine and are not influenced by Roche.

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  1. August 6, 2012

    I can definitely see that blinded data can be more pure and uninterrupted and have it’s benefits. Since I’m a control freak, I’ll stick with the data I can see. :)

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