Here at FierceHealthIT, we're hearing more about diabetes monitoring technology improvements every week. This time, we were intrigued to learn about a just-patented RFID chip that can be injected into diabetes patients to measure blood glucose levels. It should be a while before the chip hits the market, though, as the vendor still hasn't obtained its international patent or conducted clinical trials for its use, much less gotten FDA approval to sell it. Currently, diabetics typically monitor their blood glucose levels by drawing small amounts of blood from their fingertip or arm, then transferring the blood sample to a strip to be read by a small portable glucose meter. The process is awkward, painful and somewhat expensive for patients.
But the new "embedded biosensor system" chip, patented by VeriChip sister company Digital Angel, may stand things on their head. The new chip, which includes a passive transponder, a glucose sensor and integrated circuitry, will be implanted in humans using a syringe and read by a wireless scanner. The scanner signal, in turn, powers the microchip. In addition to making things easier for patients, such wireless scanning could greatly help health IT administrators in shunting glucose levels directly to the appropriate system, saving keystrokes and eliminating the possibility of human transcription errors.