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Nurse’s DiaSite app helps diabetics of all ages

A New Jersey nurse has a young boy who was waiting to use the bathroom to thank for helping create the DiaSite app.

Tami Lane, BSN, MA, RN, NCSN, a retired school nurse, was working at Camp Nejeda in Stillwater Township, N.J., a year ago. She was talking with another nurse during a slow part of a shift about how to handle a newly diagnosed diabetic in a school. She explained her method of educating children about rotating sites — to use a picture of the body and move a magnet around the sites.

A young boy waiting to use the bathroom to check his ketone levels said, “That is a very good idea and you ought to make it an app,” Lane recalled.

“I thought I was retiring,” she said. “Then this little boy got the spark going again.”
With the help of a friend’s sons at the software company Blindhack, Lane developed the DiaSite app. In June, she launched the free app to help diabetics better manage their disease.

“It’s been a real process in learning, but it’s also been exciting,” she said. “This is something I always wanted to do. I always wanted to leave something.”

How DiaSite works

Molly McElwee, RN

The app starts with a screen showing a hand with four red dots on the fingers and thumb and one green dot, which indicates the finger the person should use to test glucose levels, Lane said.

The user presses the green dot when he tests with that finger, then enters the test results on a screen with the time and date. After hitting OK, the patient sees a graph showing average levels in a day, a week, a month or three months.

The next time the user checks that screen, the green dot will have moved to a different finger, Lane said. That testing site rotation is important to avoid soreness from overuse, said Molly McElwee, RN, CDE, CRC, a spokeswoman for the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

To track injections, the app shows screens depicting the front and back of a person with red dots for previously used injection sites and a green dot for the location the person should select for the injection, Lane said. If a patient broke an arm and doesn’t want to use that arm as an injection site, the app will allow the user to take that site out of the rotation.

Like with the testing page, the user will see that the green dot has moved to another site the next time the injection tracker appears on the screen.

Rotating injections is important to avoid lipohypertrophy, a lump under the skin caused by repeated insulin injections, McElwee said.

How it’s helping

An elderly friend, who tried the app because her fingers were getting calloused from testing, was able to track her test sites and avoid using the same sites, Lane said. One 10-year-old boy at Lane’s former school tested the app and loved it, as did his parents, she said.

“In that sense, I feel like I made a difference,” she said. “I made a difference in this little boy’s life. This app has made a difference.”

The app is most useful for newly diagnosed diabetics as well as for caregivers who do injections and finger-stick tests for people who need assistance, McElwee said.
Other apps McElwee recommends for diabetics are MySugr, which incorporates fun into diabetes testing and food logging, and Wavesense Manager, which is user-friendly for someone who isn’t comfortable with technology.

Lane’s next steps are to research the DiaSite app’s effectiveness to show how it improves skin integrity and the viability of pump sites, injection sites and finger-stick sites, she said.

“Hopefully it’s going to help people,” she said. “That’s what we go into nursing for.”

Karen Long is a freelance writer.

By | 2020-04-15T09:20:49-04:00 October 27th, 2014|Categories: New York/New Jersey Metro, Regional|0 Comments

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