It’s news whenever a new blood glucose meter becomes available. Two new blood glucose meters from a new company is even bigger news. The biggest news is that one of these new meters works with a device that automatically uploads your readings to family or health care professionals — all without using a computer.
The meters are the GlucoLeader Enhance and the GlucoLeader Value from HMD BioMedical in Titusville, Florida. The Enhance has respectable stats. It requires only a 1.5 microliter blood sample and provides results in less than 15 seconds. In my informal evaluation its results correlated well with the meter I usually use. The GlucoLeader Value takes a 3.0 microliter blood sample, but is just as quick as the Enhance.
Even more important than the GlucoLeader Enhance’s superior stats is that it works with the company’s Virtual Tracker, which includes a modem without the need of a computer. Just plug it into a phone line and leave it connected like you do with an answering machine. When you are ready to upload your readings, just plug in the GlucoLeader Enhance to the Virtual Tracker and send your readings with the press of a button. It automatically connects to a toll free number.
“This is the first meter that will notify whoever you authorize to let them know if your readings are beyond the parameters you have set,” HMD BioMedical CEO Bryan Sowards says. “It is real time information.”
From my discussions with Bryan it seems that the prices have just been set. The company sells to distributors, which then supply to dealers who ultimately provide it to people with diabetes. The suggested retail prices are what Medicare allows — $69.95 for the GlucoLeader Enhance meter kit with Virtual Tracker, $69.95 for the GlucoLeader Value meter kit, and $39.95 for a box of 50 GlucoLeader Enhance or GlucoLeader Value test strips.
There is nothing else like the Virtual Tracker on the market now. Yet the concept is remarkably similar to a wonderful little modem called the LifeChart Reporter that I tested in 1999 for an article on telemedicine. This device, which connected some meters to a phone line without using a computer, hasn't been available for years. When I mentioned it to Bryan, he wasn’t aware of it. So the Virtual Tracker sounds like an example of parallel discovery — good minds thinking alike. That’s news.
Sidebar: The GlucoMON Alternative
The nearest alternative now to the Virtual Tracker is a device called the GlucoMON, which I reviewed here in August. The GlucoMON is a cradle for a meter that automatically and wirelessly sends meter readings to selected recipients. A company in Dallas, Texas, called Diabetech, makes the device and manages the service.
But sales of the GlucoMON are currently on hold, says Diabetech CEO Kevin McMahon. The Food and Drug Administration now tells the company that the device requires a premarket notification — 510(k) approval. Kevin expects that the GlucoMON will be back on the market in the fall.
This article originally appeared in Diabetes Health, May 2005. The manufacturer’s website is hmdbiomed.com.
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