New hi-tech glucose meter connects diabetics to the Internet
BETHESDA, MD—All diabetics on insulin are well aware of the need to daily test their blood sugar levels. Many of them may possess hi-tech devices such as smart phones and GPS devices; however, their glucose meter is a primitive instrument, which can only provide a glucose reading. Diabetics often record their glucose measurements on paper and, on occasion, discuss them with their physician. By the end of January, diabetics will be able to own a new “smart” glucose meter that can do much more.
The Telcare device, manufactured by a small start-up company with the same name, is now available for preorder. Telcare notes that their meter is the first with wireless technology that instantly transmits glucose readings to the patient’s private online database, which can be accessed by the patient or, with permission, by a physician, caregiver, or family member. The online system charts the results to highlight trends and detect problems; the database can be accessed via a Web browser or an iPhone app. It automatically transmits relevant feedback, such as whether a patient’s readings appear high or low, and allows physicians to respond.
Although, free glucose meters are widely advertised for diabetics who purchase compatible supplies, the Telcare BGM (blood glucose meter) is $149.95 without the purchase of a contract and $99.95 with the purchase of a one-year contract to purchase supplies at a discount price. According to the manufacturer, the fully-wireless meter is easy to use and includes a user quick start guide, user manual, meter, charger, 10 Telcare test strips, 10 Lancets, lancing device, and control solution. The features include:
- Easy-to-read glucose results
- Graphical display of readings
- Stores historical glucose data
- Securely transmit data to your MyTelcare.com
- Backlit color screen
- Rechargeable battery
- Individualized onscreen feedback
- Link authorized caregivers
- Small blood sample
- Fast results
The Telcare BGM functions much like a traditional meter. The user inserts a test strip into a slot on the meter; then pricks his or her finger with a lancing device to obtain a blood droplet. The droplet is applied to the strip and a glucose reading soon appears. At this point, the resemblance to a standard meter ends. The device instantly transmits the results to its online database, where it is accessible to the patient and any authorized individual via the password-protected website or iPhone app. This transmission is accomplished via a built-in cellular modem, which does not involve any cellphone fees. If necessary, the cellular connection can transmit messages from a physician back to the patient regarding the readings; however, the patient cannot reply. A future version of the product will incorporate that feature.
Telcare customarily uses T-Mobile's network; however, if that's not available, the device will automatically shift to whatever compatible connection it can locate. If no connection is available, it will save the results; the user can then manually transmit the data when back in range of a network.