Diabetes Testing

Meter Accuracy and Precision

One of the most interesting and important professional journals will publish a head-to-head comparison of major blood glucose meters in its forthcoming April 2008 issue. The article in Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics compares Abbott Diabetes Care’s FreeStyle Flash, Roche’s Accu-Chek Advantage and Accu-Chek Compact Plus, and Bayer HealthCare’s Contour.

The article also includes BD Diabetes Care’s BD Logic meter, which the company no longer makes. But it fails to include perhaps the most accurate meter, the WaveSense KeyNote, made by AgaMatrix, one of the smaller companies in this business. Also omitted are any meters from one of the biggest meter companies, LifeScan.

Not since August 2005, when Consumer Reports reviewed 13 meters, have we had an objective guide to rating the most important yet most subtle distinction between the blood glucose meters that everyone who has diabetes relies on. I summarized the results of that review for Diabetes Health magazine in my November 2005 article, which is now online on my website.

The new Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics review, written by Linda E. Thomas, Pharm.D., of Batavia, New York’s, United Memorial Hospital, and five associates, finds “the Flash to have significantly greater accuracy than each of the other four meters.” All of the meters “demonstrated similar precision.”

The Consumer Reports review found the Compact and Contour to be a bit less accurate than the other meters it tested. But the magazine didn’t find much to distinguish the “consistency” — technically called precision — between two Accu-Chek meters, two FreeStyle meters, the Contour, and the Logic, as well as two from LifeScan.

Thanks to Ron Sebol, who I wrote about years ago for the old “Diabetes Watch” website, for discovering this paper and posting it at his DSM-L (Diabetes Self-Management) mailing list. I describe that list and provide a subscription link on my “Non-Web Resources” page at my website.

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

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