Remember to Change Insulin Pump Clocks During Daylight Saving Time

The dangers of failing to change the clocks on insulin pumps in recognition of daylight saving time.

A timely piece published in the November 2014 edition of the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology details the dangers of failing to change the clocks on insulin pumps in recognition of daylight saving time.

“Daylight saving time changes may not significantly affect basal insulin delivery, given the triviality of the time difference. However, bolus insulin doses can be dramatically affected,” wrote study authors Saleh A. Aldasouqi, MD, FACE, ECNU, of the Department of Medicine at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, and Amy J. Reed, RD, CDE, of Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan. “Such problems may occur when pump wearers have large variations in their insulin-to-carb ratio, especially if they forget to change their pump clock in the spring.”

Appropriate insulin delivery requires a pump user to correlate dose delivery settings with internal clock time settings. Accordingly, the authors encouraged health care professionals to speak with their patients about the importance of adjusting their insulin pumps during the twice-annual daylight saving time ritual.

“Because insulin pumps are not GPS-enabled or automatically time-adjusting, extra caution should be practiced by patients to ensure correct time settings at all times,” the authors wrote. “Clinicians and diabetes educators should verify the date/time of insulin pumps during patients’ visits, and should remind their patients to always verify these settings.”

Dr. Aldasouqi told Michigan State University Today that he sees many patients who have either forgotten to adjust their clock settings or discovered incorrect a.m./p.m. settings, which the article noted is “more worrisome than daylight saving time change (because) if this setting is set up incorrectly, both basal rates and bolus doses will be affected.”

Currently, insulin pumps lack the technology to automatically adjust the clock workings to reflect daylight saving time. While GPS technology might help solve the problem for future insulin pumps, there is controversy surrounding its implementation due to patient privacy concerns.

“The implications of remembering to change the clock in these devices means so much more than just remembering to adjust the alarm clock for that extra hour of sleep,” Dr. Aldasouqi told Michigan State University Today. “As a physician, I’m going to do what I can to make sure patients are safe.”