The theme among glucose meter vendors at this year's AADE Expo was clear: all the banners read "no coding." Wow, you mean like I don't have to worry about syncing up the code number on the monitor and the test strip vial every time I start a new batch? Neat.
Not that matching up the codes is such a big problem for most of us "plugged-in" types. But I understand a lot of people who test less often forget to check the coding at all, therefore throwing off their BG results significantly (by up to 43%, according to Bayer). "It's great for older patients!" the vendors told me enthusiastically.
Check out the latest in "no coding" models:
* Abbott's FreeStyle Lite - the newest edition of compact FreeStyle meters with rubber-grip sides and a high-contrast, big-number screen display for easy viewing. Also requires the world's smallest blood sample size, 0.3 microliter. (I told the gals above I hoped Abbott was paying them well :)
* The new Jazz meter from AgaMatrix (not yet shown on their site) - also featuring a large easy-to-read back-lit display. The cool thing about the Jazz is a second, wireless version coming out soon that will allow you to download your BG data to the company's ZeroClick software using BlueTooth technology. Now that IS zero-click!
* Bayer Contour & Breeze meters - the latter features a test strip disc that allows for 10 tests, so you never even have to handle test strips individually. This is an appealing concept, except for the cost factor.
Which brings me to the rub: because these meters are "codeless," they require all-new sets of proprietary test strips. You can't even use the regular FreeStyle test strips you already own with the Lite, for example, or the Keynote test strips with the Jazz meter. Ugh. So if coding doesn't bother you, I'd recommend sticking with your current meter at least long enough to use up all those strips you've already paid for.
And btw, you didn't miss it: despite rumors, nothing was announced at the AADE meeting last week regarding the long-awaited Abbott Navigator continuous glucose monitor. This CGM system has been held up by the FDA for what seems like ages. The company tells me that "the last piece of data required by the FDA has now been submitted." And the mind ponders on what that could be.
There were at least a half-dozen talks on CGM systems, including a captivating session in which Dr. Bruce Bode and Phil Southerland of TeamType1 showcased their study of Navigator use during extreme exercise. In fact, Navigator seemed to appear alongside the DexCom and MiniMed Guardian in most talks as if it were already a patient option. Everybody seems to believe it won't be long now...