When the country’s leading blood glucose meter manufacturer introduces its first new meter in years, checking it out makes sense. LifeScan, a Johnson & Johnson company, sells more meters in this country than any other company, and it just came out with a new version of its old OneTouch meter. This one they call the VerioIQ, because it’s so smart.
Its IQ is actually pretty simple, different from human intelligence. It helps us identify the patterns in our blood glucose testing.
These patterns are probably among the biggest benefits we can get from regular blood glucose testing. We can use some other meters to identify trends in our blood glucose levels.
But only a meter that let us mark whether each test is before or after a meal can show us a pattern or a trend. LifeScan pioneered this valuable feature, which the company called “event labeling.” Other events can usefully include before and after exercising, fasting, and before bed levels, like the outstanding Telcare meter does.
The new VerioIQ keeps it simpler. We can use the up arrow button to select a pre-meal reading, the down arrow button to select a post-meal one, or skip that input altogether. The trouble with some meters is that they are so sophisticated in the number of choices they give it that it takes too much of our limited intelligence. LifeScan’s VerioIQ avoids falling into this trap.
Actually, this new meter shows us something new, patterns. It doesn’t show us trends.
The default settings for pattern limits are a high level above 130 mg/dl and a low level below 70 mg/dl. The low level probably makes sense for most of us, but some of us might want to set a high level below 130, and this meter lets us do that.
With the limits set and after testing for a few days the VerioIQ might give you a “high” or “low” pattern message. These messages show up in two situations: A high pattern is triggered when you get three before meal highs that occur within the same three-hour window within the past five days, while a low pattern occurs when you get two lows within the same three-hour window within the past five days.
Knowing these patterns are most useful for people who use insulin. But anyone whose blood glucose is out of control can also benefit. Avoiding highs and lows are crucial for preventing the serious complications of uncontrolled diabetes.
Knowing that you have a high or low pattern is, of course, just the start to managing diabetes. The genius comes from a little “Pattern Guide” booklet that is available free those who call LifeScan at 888-567-3003 to register their meters. This guide shows “possible causes” and “potential actions” that we can take in various situations. High or low patterns can come before or after breakfast, lunch, dinner, and overnight.
That’s some of the good news. Also, this is a very quick meter, returning the result in 5 seconds, and it requires only a speck of blood, 0.4 microliters. It doesn’t need to be coded.
More good news is that the VerioIQ meter is small and attractive. Personally, I prefer a meter that is white like this one to a meter that is either colorful or black.
Even more good news is that for once a blood glucose meter uses a rechargeable battery. That’s good news for several reasons, including the environment.
The bad news could be the high cost of this meter. The meter itself lists for $69.99 and a vial of 100 test strips can set you back $159.99. However, Medicare and most private insurance plans will cover these costs. LifeScan has a program that works automatically at the pharmacy to reduce patient co-pays. If a patient’s co-pay exceeds $25 to fill a prescription, LifeScan will contribute up to $25 to offset the portion of the co-pay above $25. Patients simply visit one of the thousands of participating pharmacies to take advantage of the program. No codes, coupons, or paperwork are required.
If you don’t have medical insurance, intelligence like that of the VerioIQ doesn’t come cheap. If you are well insured, getting the VerioIQ could be smart.
This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.