Dive Brief:

  • A widespread issue with the Dexcom Follow app is leaving many parents of diabetic children without their usual ability to remotely track blood sugar levels from continuous glucose monitors.
  • The server outage, which started early Saturday morning, is still not resolved as of early Monday, according to the company. Dexcom said it did not “release any updates or changes to cause this issue” and is working with Microsoft and Google to address the problem. 
  • The FDA is aware of the issue and will be working with Dexcom, an FDA spokesperson told MedTech Dive in an email. The agency granted marketing authorization to the Dexcom cloud software in October 2014.

Dive Insight:

Many users are outraged over what they say is inadequate communication by the company, which is using Facebook as a primary way to update patients. The company’s Twitter account is not active.

Carrie Diulus, an orthopaedic spine surgeon and Type 1 diabetic who uses a Dexcom device, told MedTech Dive in an interview Dexcom’s communication to parents and patients has been unacceptable particularly given the potential for fatal events. There was no alert the server was down so parents had no way to know they were not able to follow their diabetic children’s glucose levels, she said.

“It’s rocked the diabetes online world,” Diulus said. “We’ve all gotten so used to this technology. The risk is if a parent doesn’t know their child is going low overnight, there is potential for a fatal hypoglycemic event. If a child’s blood sugar goes high overnight, diabetic ketoacidosis can occur, which can also be fatal.”

Dexcom acknowledged its communication with patients needs improvement, saying it is “committed to creating a more optimal customer communication experience moving forward,” in a statement to MedTech Dive. The company said users have reported login issues and an inability to use its “follow feature,” resulting in followers being unable to receive continuous glucose monitor data or alerts. 

“This is an unfortunate but isolated event for Dexcom, and it has revealed some areas for improvement, both with our system and in how we communicate with our users,” the company said in the statement. “Once we have solved the issue immediately at hand, we will follow our standard assessment procedure to learn from what happened and help prevent issues like this from happening again.”

Dexcom said it determined its servers became overloaded but it is unclear what is the issue’s root cause.

We did not release any updates or changes to cause this issue, further complicating our investigation,” Dexcom said in the statement. “Restoring Dexcom Follow is our number one priority and we have teams throughout the company working to get this feature back up and running.”

Cowen analysts wrote in a note to investors they are reviewing their price target for Dexcom, but expect “limited consequences for financials or the stock from this server outage (if at all)” despite “an incredibly dangerous situation” for patients. Dexcom’s stock was down approximately 4% at market open Monday.

“The company’s communication with patients clearly needs to improve,” the Cowen analysts wrote. “Per social media posts, users were not proactively alerted that the Follow app was down; accordingly, most users didn’t realize this functionality wasn’t working for an entire night.”

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