Day 3 (published 3 December 2020)

Data, Data, What To Do With The Data?

People usually don’t start to think about data until after they have set up loop and either run into a settings problem that they need help with, or they are getting ready for a Doctor’s appointment and realize they can’t hand over their PDM for the office to download.

You should think through your data strategy before switching to Loop. It is helpful to have a couple of weeks pre-Loop data, so if you are having strange blood glucose actions after changing to Loop, you have the same data in the same format to be able to compare to.

Do you absolutely have to have a data repository?

No, some people do quite fine without them. If you are someone who already adjusts their factors regularly and the tools you use for that will still be available while Looping, and you already have the reports you need for your Doctor or your Doctor doesn’t want reports, then you could forgo data storage/reporting.

Loop is going to store some data in Apple Health. There is some limited reporting (you can get your TDD for previous days out of the Apple Health app for example).

Why would I want to save my data?

Think through what you might need data for. If there is any chance that you might be asking the greater Looping community for help with settings, or help understanding why Loop did something, such as:

  • “Why do I have a negative IOB?” or
  • Why isn’t Loop recommending a bolus when I enter this meal?”

You will absolutely get the best and fastest help if you can post a screen shot of a NightScout site with all the data rendering turned on. You can still get some help by posting screen shots from Loop (if you capture them soon enough before they scroll off). But without Nightscout views, it tends to take a lot more back and forth. And some of the people who are the best at that type of help will ignore the posts without Nightscout screen shots, because it is just takes too much time to extract the required information to understand and help you correct what is going on.

Some options for saving/viewing your data

Tidepool: Some doctors’ offices use Tidepool for reporting. If your Doctors office uses Tidepool, you should continue feeding data to it. There is no cost to use Tidepool.

Nightscout: Nightscout is the preferred option in the DIY Looping communities for capturing data.  It can be used in addition to Tidepool and Apple Health. Setting up and maintaining Nightscout will probably be a commitment of about 8 hours per year.  There are several DIY Nightscout options, including Google cloud (about $1/month or less) and Heroku ($5 for Eco tier and $7 for Hobby tier).

Software as a Service:  Another Nightscout option are the fee-for-service plans offered by Nightscout Pro, NS10be and T1palPros: SaaS providers are as close to a “1 button setup” as possible. It will update your site, clear out your database, restart services and perform other troubleshooting.  It saves you 8 hours each year that you otherwise have to devote to Nightscout. Both Nightscout Pro and NS10be are similarly priced to Heroku’s Eco tier (and less expensive than the Hobby tier). Cons:  Caregivers should know that T1Pal does not provide support for all of Loop 3’s remote features.  SaaS is a fee-for-service plan, billable monthly. Support for the SaaS providers is done via Facebook or email, and response time varies. See the link above for support expectations and service differences. Support from Nightscout and Loop FB groups is not necessarily available due to the differences in the service.

Take your time to think about what you need the data for, and whether you’d prefer a paid SaaS or DIY Nightscout account, free Tidepool account, or perhaps no Nightscout account at all. A later post will point to build instructions for Nightscout and will suggest that you build the site and start feeding your CGM data to it in advance.

If you decide not to store your data in Nightscout, you can go fishing that day instead and reclaim a couple of hours. I would encourage you to think about the purpose Nightscout serves in the whole framework of Looping. If your Nightscout site is down, Loop will still work. Unless you are using it for remote monitoring, such as for a child that is away from the house, it generally is not a critical part of day-to-day Looping.

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