Medtronic Minimed's Guardian RT continuous monitoring system is Hot, Hot, Hot! Some doctors have even called the company offering cash payouts just to get their hands on one, according to a company rep who spoke at a support group I attended a few days ago (I know, I know, but never say never!)Guardrt_prod

Approved by the FDA last month, Guardian RT is the first continuous glucose monitoring system on the market to display readings in real time. As in: "Look, Ma! I'm dropping... time for a snack!" Wow!

And at this very moment, in seven fortunate cities around the country (the rep would not disclose which), the system is already available under doctors' supervision. When will the rest of us get a turn?

"We're working out the cost structures, the policies, and CDE education on how to use the unit. Essentially we're working out the kinks," I was told. Good! But I couldn't even squeeze out of the guy whether it might be ca. 6 months, a year, or longer?

In the meantime, he told us, lots of diabetes centers and progressive practices around the country are offering a stint with Minimed's CGMS Gold (Continuous Glucose Monitoring) system, a larger unit that is loaned out to patients for three days at a time. This one's not real-time, as the patient has to bring the unit back to the doctor to download collected data. But it still offers a wealth of information on the patient's BG patterns -- a mini "video" if you will, rather than the static "snapshot" that you get with a traditional glucose monitor.

Also overheard at the Support Group Meeting:

* "We've got to convince many doctors that the insulin pump is not a last resort -- when the patient's already hit bottom. They've got to understand that the pump is proactive therapy that helps the patient before they're falling off!" -- the MiniMed Rep

* "I wish my doctor knew as much about this stuff as I do!" -- Type 1 guy for 11 years, 5 years on the pump

PLUS: I learned that Medtronic Minimed offers free classes on an array of topics including Carb Counting, Intro to the Pump/Advanced Pump Skills, Understanding Blood Glucose Trends, etc. You do NOT have to be a MiniMed wearer/customer to attend. Check the lineup in your area on the Minimed patient site.

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