What do people living with type 1 diabetes really think about insulin pumps and glucose monitors?

A study led by people living with type 1 diabetes invited the views of the community

By Dr Joanne Jordan

Keeping blood glucose levels within a target range is important for the health and wellbeing of people living with type 1 diabetes. To do this, they need to take insulin and monitor their glucose levels.

A study led by adults with type 1 diabetes asked Australian adults with type 1 diabetes their views on glucose management devices. The survey focused on what matters to people living with type 1 diabetes. The study was supported by a team of health professionals and researchers, including ACBRD’s Jane Speight.

There are various glucose management devices that can be used. The survey asked about three types:

      • insulin pumps: a small device typically attached to a person’s stomach that gives small amounts of insulin 24 hours a day to manage a person’s blood glucose levels.
      • real-time continuous glucose monitoring: a sensor placed under a person’s skin that checks glucose levels 24 hours a day and sends the data to a phone app or monitor.
      • intermittently scanned glucose monitoring: a sensor placed under a person’s skin that checks glucose levels. The person needs to scan the sensor with a handheld device to see the data.

More than 3,300 adults with type 1 diabetes shared their views. They all had experience using one or more device(s). Here are some of the key survey results:

What are the positive aspects of using diabetes devices?

      • 98% said these devices are important or extremely important in helping them to keep their glucose levels in a target range.
      • 93% said they have had fewer hypos (glucose less than 4mmol/L) and that hypos are less severe.
      • Over 85% said their emotional wellbeing was better or much better since using a device.
      • Over 84% said devices are convenient to use.
      • Over 80% said devices are easy to use.
      • Over 73% said their devices are reliable.

What would make devices easier to use?

      • Over 67% said these devices are not affordable.
      • Over 33% want more information available to help them choose a device.
      • 10-18% said they had not been able to access enough education and training when they first started using their device(s).

This study highlights the important role of devices in helping adults with type 1 diabetes to manage glucose levels. It also highlights key ways in which devices need to be made more accessible. A limitation of this study is that the survey was limited to people with experience of using devices. This means that the voices of those who have never accessed devices have not been included here.

A key strength of this study is that it was led by people with type 1 diabetes. They designed survey questions that matter to people with diabetes. They drew a large sample of people to respond to the survey. It shows that members of the community, health professionals and researchers can work together on studies that matter to people living with diabetes.

To read more of our research about glucose monitoring, technologies, and type 1 diabetes, check out our previous blogs.


Reference: Read M, Henshaw KN, Zaharieva DP, Brown TC, Varga AE et al. “Empowering Us”: A community-led survey of real-world perspectives of adults with type 1 diabetes using insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring to manage their glucose levels. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 2023; Jul 13:110830.

Print This Post Print This Post