The US FDA has recently cleared Dexcom’s mobile apps, Share and Follow, which work with Dexcom Share, a remote monitoring device that communicates with the manufacturer’s continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system and displays glucose data. This will benefit Dexcom as it looks to strengthen its presence in the highly competitive US CGM systems market. However, to stay ahead of the competition in the long term, it should focus on developing a mechanism to enable a patient’s phone to interact directly with the CGM system.
Dexcom will benefit from first-mover advantage
Remote patient monitoring can help patients suffering from diabetes to collaborate with caregivers and relatives in real time to keep glucose levels under control. However, the CGM systems on the market require patients to manually share glucose readings with healthcare teams, which can be a cumbersome process. For diabetes care to improve, the data-sharing process needs to be automated, with caregivers receiving alerts in real time without the need for patients to send glucose readings manually. This is particularly useful for children who suffer from Type 2 diabetes and are generally not capable of managing their condition themselves.
Dexcom Share is the first of its kind to offer real-time remote monitoring for patients suffering from diabetes. Cleared by the FDA in 2014, the device is intended to retrieve a patient’s glucose data from Dexcom’s CGM system, the G4 Platinum Sensor, and interact with Share, a mobile app on the patient’s phone, to share the data. The patient can invite caregivers and relatives through the app, who can accept the invite using Dexcom’s Follow app. The patient’s app uploads the glucose data to the cloud, from which caregivers can download the data at predefined intervals or glucose thresholds. Caregivers can receive automated alerts on high and low blood glucose levels in real time, helping them to keep track of their patients.
The FDA clearance provides an opportunity for Dexcom to use its first-mover advantage to strengthen its presence in the US CGM systems market. However, the company should be wary of other manufacturers that are expected to develop similar devices. The FDA does not mandate new Class II devices to go through 510(k) clearance as long as they are equivalent to existing devices in the market. This means that competitors could launch similar real-time remote monitoring devices quickly, which will gradually limit Dexcom’s first-mover advantage. For long-term success, Dexcom should focus on eliminating the need for a mediating device such as Dexcom Share, and instead develop a mechanism to enables a patient’s phone to interact directly with the CGM system. This will provide greater ease for patients in sharing data with their caregivers, rather than having a dedicated device to retrieve glucose data from a CGM system. Dexcom should also make its mobile apps available on all OS platforms; its Share and Follow apps are currently only compatible with the iOS platform.
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Srikanth Venkataraman, Analyst, Healthcare Technology