Medical technology company spun out of MIT develops Gocap, a data-driven insulin pen cap that records dosage data and helps patients to manage their diabetes more effectively.


Diabetes is a major public health problem. The Centres for Disease Control in the U.S. estimates that more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and that a staggering 89 million have prediabetes. Most people diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, a condition where the body can’t use insulin effectively to break down sugar. High sugar levels in the blood can lead to health complications like cardiovascular disease, amputation, stroke, or blindness.

Insulin injections are used to manage diabetes, in combination with a healthy diet and exercise. Disposable insulin pens are a common tool used to administer insulin and can be dialed to the appropriate dose. Diabetes can be managed well if patients are vigilant about monitoring and recording their blood sugar levels, and taking insulin when they need it. Unfortunately, many diabetics do not have access to the resources that can help them effectively manage their disease. As a result, they become non-adherent and are at much higher risk for health complications.

Common Sensing, a medical technology company spun out from MIT, wants to improve diabetes management with their smart insulin pen cap, Gocap. Gocap is a data-driven smart cap that fits over the injection needle of a standard insulin pen, and measures the volume of insulin in the pen. When the cap is removed and replaced, Gocap uses an optimal measuring method to record the time of injection and remaining insulin volume.

The data collected by Gocap is then sent via Bluetooth to the cloud and displayed on the screen of an accompanying mobile device app. Data is stored in an ‘insulin logbook’ where the user can enter additional information like glucose level readings, food intake, and insulin type to allow for a more complete picture of their diabetes management. Gocap’s tracking and analysis capabilities also include temperature measurement, reminders and alerts, and calculating average insulin use.

Since all Gocap data is sent to the cloud, it facilitates the sharing of data with family members and health care professionals. As a result, the patient has an easily-accessible record of their injections on their smartphone to share with their doctor and family members can monitor if insulin is being taken regularly by their loved one. With easily accessible data, doctors can tweak insulin dosages or make specific recommendations for overall better disease management.

Gocap is currently undergoing clinical studies and has recently partnered with a Boston-based diabetes centre to test its viability as a data-driven diabetes management tool for 125 patients over the next year. Future improvements to Gocap involve testing phone-based interventions like text messages or calls to patients who have dropped off from taking their insulin. When Gocap is eventually ready for consumers, it will be free to patients – Common Sensing will be providing them to insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and provider and clinician networks to ensure that it is available to patients who need it.


Written By: Fiona Wong, PhD

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