In early May, a wing of Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center was eerily empty. The space had been cleared of patients as the pandemic raged. But it wasn’t going to waste.
Inside, a group of nurse practitioners were playing a game of digital tag. Lauren Chrzanowski, who has type 1 diabetes, was wearing a continuous glucose monitor, an implant with a transmitter that sends real-time glucose measurements to a dedicated receiver — when they’re close enough, anyway. On that day, she was trying to figure out just how far away her CGM could be from its receiver and still work.
Hospitals around the country were racing to answer the same question. Normally, they monitor patients’ blood glucose with a blood test, taken several times a day. But as Covid-19 began to spread aggressively in the U.S., “we all started to look at each other and think, ‘How are we going to in good conscience put patients on IV insulin when the nurse will have to go in every hour?’” said Eileen Faulds, an endocrinology nurse practitioner who works with Chrzanowski at OSU.