“A rose by any other name…”
Shakespeare’s Juliet Capulet expressed that saying when trying to show that Romeo, regardless of his family’s name and rival to her own family, would still be Romeo to her. So what does this have to do with diabetes? Bear with me and it will become clear.
It seems as of late there have been more independent blood glucose monitor companies popping up in the marketplace. Competition is always good. Test strips have always been a cash cow for the manufacturer. Strip prices range from $9.00 to $87.50* for 50 strips. You can see the spread in the American Diabetes Associations 2018 Consumer Guide where they profile 80 meters currently on the market. If you are looking for a new meter or system then check out the guide. As i used to say to my disease management clients when they ask which is the best? The answer was always an unbiased “The one your insurance pays the most towards the cost of testing.” Sad, but for most PWD’s, the cold truth.
A couple of months ago I was paying $35 in co-pay for my OneTouch strips. OneTouch was the only meter my insurance company covered AND they limited the total number of strips I could get in a month. While browsing the pharmacy at my local Walmart I stumbled upon the ReLion Premier Blu meter. I could get 100 strips for $17.88! When I used the last OneTouch strip I switched to the Premier Blu and saved $17.00. I think it was more of an “FU” to the insurance company but regardless, it felt good to have a say in which meter I used.
Last year I started seeing online advertisements for a new testing solution, The One Drop. A slick, futuristic looking meter and leather holster for the meter, strips and lancing device. Best of all, it included unlimited test strips. You heard that right. Unlimited test strips! Test to your heart’s desire! OneDrop had developed a monthly subscription based program. Genius! Let the competition begin. Slowly, I began to see people posting on Instagram about their new meter. Social media was alive with PWD’s celebrating this new revolution in testing freedom. No more would insurance companies set caps on how many strips we should use in a month.
Then in early 2018 I started seeing an ad on Instagram for the Dario meter. See, I said the competition would start. The Dario was completely different from the OneDrop, or any meter for that fact. Back in the 80’s Exactech developed a slim, pen-like glucose meter. It was really cool and when you put it in your shirt pocket it looked just like another pen in your pocket. Problem was you still needed to carry the individually foil wrapped strips and lancing device separately. Later Abbott developed the Precision pen. It had the same flaw.
Back to Dario. Their design team truly did a 360 view of the aesthetic, function and form of their product. This meter, et al, is completely self contained. It is the “Optimus Prime” of the new generation of glucose meters. And if that wasn’t the bee’s knees, the actual meter component plugs into your smart-phone’s 3.5mm headphone jack. And communicates with their logging app. (At the moment, their product only works on Apple iPhones and select Samsung Androids.) Keep checking their site for development of additional Android model compatibility.
Fear not my fellow Android devotees, Center Health came to the party a short while ago. They brought the “Nano”, not to be confused with Accu-Chek’s ‘Nano’, to the party. This device is similar to the Dario in that it plugs into the headphone jack to test your glucose soample and then interface with the Center app to log the result along with carbs quick and long acting insulins, exercise and mood.
It is not self contained like the Dario so you still need to carry the accessories in a separate case. At this writing there is no way to export results to share with your endo. Ali, one of the founders, said they are working on that feature for the near future. The graphing display is easy to read and can easily be interpreted by your doc scrolling through the results on your phone’s screen. The Nano is also a subscription plan. Cost varies based on how many strips you use. I opted for the unlimited plan.
There is a Dark Horse at the table from iHealth Labs – the “Align”. This meter is closer in design to the Nano than the Dario, but still does the job. The step up for the Align is you can export the data.
The meter itself is only $16.95 and comes with 4 different color bands to personalize the simple white design. The strips are $12.50 for 50.
Lastly, the most recent entry is an industry giant, Accu-chek Guide. This is a stand alone meter that interfaces wirelessly with the “mySugr” Pro app. In addition to the mySugr app you also receive access to a Certified Diabetes Educator when you need them, and unlimited test strips.
One cool feature is that the mySugr app reports back to Accu-Chek and alerts them to when you need to have more strips delivered. You never have to remember to order strips or be without because you ordered them late. This is a subscription program and will cost you $39.99/month.
How would Ms. Capulet describe this freshman class of boutique meters? Bottom line is they all have one function – test your glucose so you can manage your diabetes. It is refreshing to see that there are more options available now to tweak and customize your testing experience and technology is finally starting to become affordable that these new entries can make their product as equally attractive in cost as design. I think that Ms. Capulet would stand her ground and say “A rose by another other name would still smell as sweet.”
*The Accu-chek Nano is the most expensive strip in the 2018 Consumer Guide.
Disclaimer: I do not own the copyright on the images used here in and are only for editorial display. I am not affiliated with any of the companies discussed in this blog nor do I receive any compensation from any of the companies.
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