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What is CGM? (A pharmacy student perspective by Miguel Galvez)

As an APPE student for RXinsider, I am tasked to formulate and present topics of interest to the RXinsider staff. RXinsider is a technology, publishing, and multimedia company focused on the pharmacy market.

Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and 30.3 million people in the United States who have diabetes use glucose testing. Most glucose testing involves frequent needle sticks into a finger to test blood sugar levels. Testing your blood sugar helps manage diabetes and helps people with diabetes decide what to eat, how to exercise, and how to manage insulin dosing.

To avoid frequent needle sticks, it might interest patients in continuous glucose monitoring (CGM). CGM measures your blood sugar every few minutes through a tiny sensor that’s placed on your belly or arm; the sensor then sends the results to an insulin pump, smartphone, or reader.

CGM has been around since the turn of the century but only recently have they introduced models where finger sticks nor calibration are required. The two systems are the FreeStyle Libre from Abbott and the G6 from Dexcom. There are differences between the two. For example, the FreeStyle Libre does not have alarms for high and low blood glucose, you must scan it to get a history or active number. The G6 does; but, the G6 is larger, and has the transmitter and sensor separate, while the FreeStyle has them fully integrated with a size smaller than two quarters stacked. Medicare covers both, but the FreeStyle offers a longer wear length (14 days vs 10 days). Also, the transmitter for the Freestyle need not replacing every three months like the G6 since they integrate it into the disposable sensor. CGM without finger sticks is a novel technology that has the potential to reduce hospitalizations and improve health outcomes. With real-time data monitoring and tracking, it may persuade clinicians to integrate “time-in-range” into the specialty profession of diabetes.

Miguel (Mike) Galvez is currently a P4 Pharmacy Student at the University of Rhode Island. Mike is currently performing an APPE pharmacy student rotation at RXinsider in West Warwick Rhode Island.

My Bio

An attentive, hardworking, goal orientated scholar from the San Fernando Valley who is striving for a dual degree from the University of Rhode Island in pharmacy and business. I’m a very active scholar. I take part in many extracurricular activities ranging from academic pharmacy clubs like SUPP to volunteer community development associations like Habitat to athletic extracurriculars like basketball and volleyball. 

I wanted to be a pharmacist to break the cultural barrier in my community. Growing up Mexican I was taught not to look an elder or someone of higher rank, such as a health professional, in the eye because it was disrespectful. Also, frequently the community wouldn’t communicate with the pharmacist because of a language barrier. As a kid, I saw this translate into poorer health outcomes in my community because no one would dare speak to someone like a pharmacist and take up their valuable time. I remember going to the pharmacy. I recall the pharmacist asking my mom if she had questions about her medicine, she never did, even though she didn’t know what the drug was for. I want to be a pharmacist hoping I can change my community’s health outcomes. I could get them to take an interest in their health by being the initiator and letting them know they are the priority. I am here to make an impact. 

Miguel Galvez

PharmD/MBA Candidate 2021

University of Rhode Island

College of Pharmacy

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