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Telcare: A Good Call for Reporting Blood Glucose

Right along with the theme of ringing in the new year, I want to tell you about the latest in blood glucose testing devices. It’s called Telcare.

Its unique calling is how it instantaneously sends the good news about my managed low glucose sugar readings via wireless cell phone technology directly to my password-protected web page account.

Most importantly, it sends my BG data automatically, without any additional buttons to push. Now that’s a good call. I don’t want to be bothered and burdened to learn how to work my new gadgets. I like it when they’re well designed and instantly user friendly, like my iPad and Kindle.

The device at first glance is simple and easy to use. Identical in size and thickness to a deck of cards, it has a large 1.5” x 2” colorful and pleasant digital screen. However, like a cell phone, it runs on a rechargeable battery and consequently needs to get plugged in and recharged. Perhaps that wouldn’t be so handy to use on my frequent travel photo journal adventures.

Other than that, it works like any other blood glucose meter. Just insert a strip, apply a drop of blood, and get the BG result in a few seconds.

What distinguishes this from any other meter is how your data is handled on the other end. After logging in with my ID  and password, I’m quickly taken to a unique display of my BG readings for daily and 7, 30, or 90 days, with graphs showing my BG averages and trends at a glance.

Many meters let us track our levels. But few let us separate out our levels before and after meals. Telcare lets us do that as well as tracking our levels before and after exercise and at other times.

I can print out a PDF of my charts to bring to my diabetes support group or my doctor. Or I could log in with my iPad at his office for a little show-and-tell right there in the exam room, if there’s online access. This could be a big time saver if your doctor asks you to keep track of your BG numbers by writing them down.

There’s also an app available to use with an Apple device (iPhone, iPod or iPad) or you can set it up to email your data directly to your doctor or to a family member of your choice.

The downside? It’s pricy. Currently $149.99 or $99.95 with a year contract. Strips are $55.95 for 50 ($35.95 with the contract), and are only currently available directly from Telcare. That may change in the future.

Unlike several other new electronics devices, this one does not use touch screen technology. But the up, down, and select buttons are intuitive to use. Is the screen breakable and needing scratch resistant protective plastic or an additional case? I hope not, because none was supplied with the pre-release demo version I received to try out.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave Telcare 510(k) clearance in August. The device will be on the market this week.

I appreciate Telcare’s efforts to bring to market an innovative BG device that may well serve the needs of those of us with diabetes who find it important to keep better track of their better blood glucose numbers. That sure rings a bell for me.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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