A German company has developed the world’s first blood glucose meter that can wirelessly transmit your blood glucose test results. The GlucoTel is the first meter to support Bluetooth wireless technology.
“The important point is that your data will be transmitted using your cell phone,” Managing Director Tan Siekmann told me. I called him at the headquarters of his company, Safe-com in Burg Lichtenfels, Germany.
Most Cell Phones Support Bluetooth Technology
He says that 95 percent of the cell phones sold today support Bluetooth technology. “Using the cell phone as the relay in real time to servers in the United States and Germany, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world or where the server is,” Mr. Siekmann says. “If you have your cell phone within about 15 meters [50 feet] of the GlucoTel, your readings will be on the server within seconds.”
From there the secure servers can automatically send the data to a doctor’s office, to a concerned parent, or to anyone else who needs to know. Messages can go the other way too. For example, your doctor or diabetes educator can instantly send messages back to you through the built-in message center.
You can also use your cell phone in another way, Mr. Siekmann says. If if’s too dark to read the test results on the GlucoTel or too hard to read without glasses, you can have your cell phone read the results out loud to you in plain English.
At the American Diabetes Association’s 66th Scientific Sessions during June in Washington I was impressed by the attractiveness and small size of the GlucoTel prototype that Safe-com displayed. It is about the size and shape of a marker pen and is something that you can easily put into your shirt pocket.
Mr. Siekmann says that they expect to obtain Food and Drug Administration approval for the GlucoTel by November or at the latest December. “We will have it on the market by January 1 in the U.S., Europe, and Japan,” he told me.
Quick Readings, Small Samples, Small Price
The meter’s statistics and pricing look good too. It provides a result in 10 seconds and uses only 0.65 microliters of blood. Mr. Siekmann says that they estimate that it will sell for $35 to $40 with strip prices in the range of around $25 for a vial of 50.
My current cell phone is one of the older ones that isn’t Bluetooth enabled. Now I have an excellent reason to get a new cell phone.
Sidebar: The Virtual Tracker
The nearest thing available today to the wireless way that the GlucoTel will transmit your results is the Virtual Tracker. This device will take glucose readings from your blood glucose meter and send them over the Internet to a database, where doctors anywhere in the world can view your results.
You connect the Virtual Tracker to your phone line and to your meter and then push a button. That’s it. It doesn’t require you to use a computer. Infopia USA in Orlando, Florida, distributes this device.
This article originally appeared in Diabetes Health, October 2006, p. 44.
David Mendosa is a freelance journalist and consultant specializing in diabetes and lives in Boulder, Colorado. When he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in February 1994, he began to write entirely about that condition. His articles and columns have appeared in many of the major diabetes magazines and websites. His own website, David Mendosa’s Diabetes Directory, established in 1995, was one of the first and is now one of the largest with that focus. Every month he also publishes an online newsletter called “Diabetes Update.” Twice weekly he writes for his blog at http://blogs.healthcentral.com/diabetes/david-mendosa. He is a coauthor of The New Glucose Revolution: What Makes My Blood Glucose Go Up...And Down? (New York: Marlowe & Co., second edition, 2006, and other publishers in the U.K., Australia, and Taiwan).
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