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LifeScan’s New VerioIQ Meter

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.

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  • P Schmied at

    Waring – Rant follows

    This is an extraordinarily expensive meter designed for stupid or uninformed people who have diabetes (hopefully few in number), one which is being marketed to consumers who lack an understanding of basic economics or Moore’s Law, who “need” the latest gadgets that they never take the time to learn to use, and for whom cost is no object.

    By all rights, this meter should provide more accuracy and more usable functionality at a LOWER cost than its predecessors. If it were to have used Ultra-type strips, it could have breezed through the regulatory process for a tiny fraction of the time and cost, and been available to market 3 years earlier. Instead, Lifescan chose to create a new strip type, whose volume puts it solidly in last place, so low on the volume/price curve that there is little hope of the cost dropping with widespread adoption. If Apple had done this, the iPad2 wouldn’t be available until 2014, and would cost $800 for an 8GB model.

    A pattern recognition feature to tell you that your BG has been running high, at a cost premium of $1/strip over a basic meter that displays your high glucose level with 10 seconds of start is ridiculous functionality? If it combined the features I used to get with my 2002-vintage Palm-based application – calculating insulin corrections – it might be a reasonable FREE function. But there’s no additional precision nor accuracy justification for the 30% increase over the already pricey Lifescan Ultra2 strip price.

    This is the kind of marketing-department created high-priced tool that is representative of the “advancements” in US medicine that have drive costs out of affordability with NO improvements in outcomes.

    If you support spiraling medical costs and think that Medicare needs to cover less and cost more, by all means have your doctor prescribe one of these ludicrous devices.

    As far as the rechargeable battery being an environmental saver vs non-mercury alkaline cells, it depends on the chemistry and life of the battery, and how the meter is disposed of. A sealed system with lithium polymer batteries has to be handled as hazardous waste. Removable alkaline batteries and normal consumer electronics require much less special handling.

    The meter that I’m using now has provided me with 4-5 tests/day for nearly 18 months on a pair of AAA alkaline, and strips run around $35/100 LIST. I prefer it to most of the “newer” meters that provide much shorter useful life using coin-type lithium batteries, and my strip COST is lower than the insurance COPAY for Lifescan strips.

    End of Rant

  • sitaram at

    so far I have been going to doctor/labs for my A1c test. what according to you is the best meter that I can buy and test at home.

    • David Mendosa at

      For A1C tests I am confident that your best choice is the A1CNow Self-Check from Bayer. Almost any pharmacy will sell them. The price is about $30 for two tests. Take the first test now and the second in 3-6 months.