It appears that you are currently using Ad Blocking software. What are the consequences? Click here to learn more.

Software for Glucose Control

Part 2

By David Mendosa

Last Update: January 16, 2001

The search for the ideal computer program for diabetes management continues. Last month we reviewed five ambitious programs that let you download from more than one brand of meter.

This month we review those commercial Windows programs that support input from only one brand of meter. We look at six proprietary and three third-party programs.

‘Tools should be simple, graphic, and easily transmitted.’

While you can use several of these programs with any meter by manually entering your blood glucose readings, that somewhat defeats the purpose. "All diabetic management tools should decrease work for the patient," says J. Joseph Prendergast, M.D. and medical director of the Endocrine Metabolic Medical Center in Atherton, California. "Tools should be simple, graphic, and easily transmitted."

But as we went through the programs it seemed to us that each one found a different way to fail his test. Not until we got to the last program did we find one that satisfied his criteria.

Programs for LifeScan Meters
LifeScan's In Touch program probably is the benchmark against which all other programs should be compared. LifeScan is the dominant meter manufacturer, and its One Touch Profile and One Touch II meters are supported by more third-party programs than any other meter. In Touch is LifeScan's second generation data management program.

In Touch is a professionally-done program that downloads data without fuss and provides all the standard reports. If you use a One Touch Profile meter, which allows you to enter up to 14 different events (like fasting, pre-dinner), you can have the readings assigned to those events rather than to time slots.

But because the screen cannot be maximized (it's reportedly in the works), you have to scroll to see much of the report's data. And you can't even see all parts of the screens that are supposed to be there, if you've told Windows to use large fonts.

Vigora's Diabetes Mentor program may not appear professionally done the manual could be more attractively presented than 31 pages stapled together but it works intuitively. Probably the smallest of these programs, it comes on one floppy disk and loads and runs fast.

Diabetes Mentor is simple but has the basics. It lets you add up to eight separate factors (including insulin, calories, carbs, exercise) and graph them as well as your glucose readings. The main lack is a concise logbook.

Don't confuse Diabetes Mentor with ITA Software's Diabetes Works, which is arguably the least professional of these commercial programs. The installation disk lacked a file and generated an error message. For a Windows program it is amazingly non-standard, including a launcher that comes up every time you reboot unless turned off. This amateurish program is rife with typos and omissions in the popup boxes and unclear instructions.

The program's five components include a Glucose Plotter that lets you import readings from LifeScan's One Touch Profile and One Touch II meters. While it produces most of the standard and some non-standard charts, it is awkward to use, in part because it piggy-backs on LifeScan's old MS-DOS One-Touch program.

Probably the most interesting part of Diabetes Works and the only reason to consider it is the insulin therapy module. You put in when and how many carbs you plan to eat, how much and how much insulin of what types you plan to take, and how many units of each type of insulin you need. Then the program plots your predicted glucose levels over the day.

Health Management Software's HealthView for Diabetes is the final commercial program that lets you import blood glucose readings from LifeScan meters. Much more than a blood glucose tracker, this program has so much that it's hard to imagine anyone but a Ph.D. in statistics entering all the data that it asks for. Still, many of the features can be disabled, so they don't get in the way if you don't want to use them.

It's the only program reviewed in this issue that includes nutrition information. It includes a database of 5,000 foods with 19 different nutrients, and allows meal planning using food exchanges and carb-counting simultaneously.

HealthView will keep track of your cholesterol and blood pressure and A1c and plot graphs of your progress. You can use it to keep track of your dental bills. It provides more than 45 different reports. But it has inadequate blood glucose graphs.

Programs for Accu-Chek Meters
The newest glucose management program, released at the end of 1998, is Accutility from Roche Diagnostics' Boehringer Mannheim Corp. It downloads from the new Accu-Chek Complete.

Accutility is professionally done. It comes in an attractive package with a great printed manual. It works intuitively.

But it lacks adequate charting and graphing, lagging well behind the other programs reviewed here in this respect. Unbelievably in this day of graphical user interfaces, the only graph that it offers plots each point with an asterisk. The other reports come in tabular form. Accutility is one of the few programs that will not let you manually import or edit blood glucose readings.

And it's not that Accutility is Boehringer Mannheim's first-generation attempt. Before Accutility there was the Accu-Chek PDM Pro program for MS-DOS (not reviewed) and then Camit for Windows.

Unlike Accutility, Camit has adequate graphing, and you can delete blood glucose readings. But you have to delete all entries for a day or range of days and there is no way to manually reenter them.

Programs for Medi-Sense and CheckMate Meters
Precision Link, which downloads from MediSense's Precision Q.I.D. and MediSense 2 meters, has the distinction of being the most expensive diabetes management program. The complicated connection between the meter and the computer—an AC power adapter, a communications box, two communications cables, and an optional 9/25 pin adapter—accounts for some of the high cost.

Precision Link is a fast, straightforward program provided on one floppy disk. It has simple and perhaps adequate graphing. But it lacks any way to manually upload or delete blood glucose entries.

Cascade Medical, the manufacturer of the CheckMate Plus meter, makes CheckLink for that meter. The version of the program the company provided, 0.91w, is the sort of number given to a pre-release version, yet it is dated June 1994.

The worst thing about the program is that it does not permit manual entry or deletion of an erroneous entry. The best thing that can be said is that it has rather attractive graphics.

Program for Bayer Meters
WinGlucofacts, just released in the United States this year in support of the new Bayer Glucometer Dex meter, is far and away the most professional, colorful, and attractive program reviewed here. Its operation follows Windows conventions and is intuitive, so absence of a printed manual hardly matters. It loads and runs quickly.

WinGlucofacts includes a full range of charts and graphs. Very customizable, it allows easily accessible filtering by day, time of day, glucose range, or meal. A nice feature lets you compare two screens side by side. The printed graphs are excellent.

It has the ability to e-mail or modem your numbers to your health care professional from within the program. Taken together with all its other features, this makes WinGlucofacts the most satisfactory program. 

COMMERCIAL WINDOWS PROGRAMS FOR INDIVIDUAL METER BRANDS

Program and

Version Reviewed;

Cost

Vendor

Address

Phone

Web Site

Claimed

Meter

Support

Pro

Con

Accutility 1.01C, $34.95

(including cable)

Roche Diagnostics,

Boehringer Mannheim Corp.,

9115 Hague Road,

Indianapolis, IN 46256,

(800) 858-8072.

Accu-Chek Complete

Professional appearance

Rudimentary graphing; allows no editing or manual importing

Camit for Windows 1.1, $59.95 (including cables)

Roche Diagnostics,

Boehringer Mannheim Corp.,

9115 Hague Road,

Indianapolis, IN 46256,

(800) 858-8072.

Accu-Chek Instant DM, Accu-Chek Advantage, Accu-Chek Easy, and Accu-Chek III

Professional appearance

User's manual seems to have been translated from German and often has awkward English

CheckLink 0.91w, $39.95 (including cable)

Cascade Medical Inc.,

10180 Viking Drive,

Eden Prairie, MN 55344,

(800) 525-6718.

 

CheckMate Plus

Attractive graphs

Not revised since 1994

Diabetes Mentor 1.4-v3, $49.95

Vigora Inc.,

4806 131st St SW,

Mukilteo, WA 98275,

(800) 743-5680,
www.vigora.com

LifeScan Profile, LifeScan One Touch II

Free 14-day evaluation; also has a Macintosh version (not evaluated)

Appears somewhat unprofessional

Diabetes Works Glucose Plotter 3.1,

$79.95

ITA Software Inc.,

108 W. Market St.,

Cascade, ID 83611

(800) 820-6084

www.diabetesonline.com

LifeScan Profile, LifeScan One Touch II

Part of a bundle of five programs, including Insulin Therapy Analysis and Diabetes Diet Analyzer

Unprofessional appearance; clunky and slow

HealthView for Diabetes Patient Version 2.12,

$39.95

Health Management Software Inc.,

1255-I Grimes Bridge Road,

Roswell, GA 30075,

(888) 458-4648,

www.healthviewdiabetes.com

LifeScan Profile, LifeScan One Touch II

A complete program including a nutritional database of 5,000 foods

Cluttered and complex screens

In Touch Diabetes Management 1.2.3.0, $89.99, but continues on sale at $59.99 (including cable)

LifeScan Inc.

1000 Gibraltar Drive,

Milpitas, CA 95035,

(800) 382-7226,

www.lifescan.com

LifeScan Profile, LifeScan One Touch II

Allows sorting by Profile's event codes as well as time slots; includes diabetes education module; professionally done with easy to follow printed manual; outstanding tech support

Some operations are not intuitive (e.g. variations in exiting different screens, switching to using Profile's event codes); screens cannot be maximized; small fonts must be selected to see complete In Touch screens

Precision Link 1.3, $139-149 (as sold through pharmacies; including cables)

MediSense Inc.,

4A Crosby Drive,

of Bedford, MA 01730,

(800) 527-3339,

www.abbottdiagnostics.com

MediSense Q.I.D., MediSense 2

Fast and simple

Expensive

WinGlucofacts 1.01, $49.95 (including cable)

Bayer Corp.,

511 Benedict Avenue,

Tarrytown, NY 10591

(800) 348-8100,

www.glucometerdex.com

Bayer Glucometer Dex

 

Intuitive; fast; simple; attractive graphics; allows easy modeming; can also be downloaded from Web site at no cost, except for cable ($29.95); outstanding tech support

No printed manual

 

This article originally appeared in Diabetes Wellness Letter, April 1999.


[Go Back] Go back to Home Page

[Go Back] Go back to Diabetes Directory

Advertisment
Never Miss An Update!
I comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. You can verify my HONcode certificate here.
Advertisment