One entire section of the ADA Conference Expo is set aside every year for hundreds of oversized research posters that companies and clinics use to summarize their latest research results. Not particularly decorative posters, but sheets from 3-by-4-feet all the way up to 4'x8' packed with diagrams and numerical data. If you can stand to decipher them, they're fascinating. Since I was on the hunt for accuracy data on new continuous glucose monitors, I ventured into the long halls of poster-land and found some unexpected stuff.
A new study
by Dr. Irl Hirsch
research fame) et al shows that the Memory Function on traditionalglucose meters is NOT HELPING patients recognize patterns -- for the simplereason that most people aren't setting the date and time correctly on theirmeters, so the stored data is all askew. A study involving 270 patients, a mixof Type 1 and Type 2, showed that 21.2% of their meter times were incorrect,while 24% of the dates were flawed as well. Here's the breakdown:
- Roche meters were worst off, with 50% of the time and date stamps being wrong (apparently their models are particularly difficult to setcorrect time & date)- Next were Bayer meters, with 48% off-timing-Then LifeScan meters at 30% time/date error rate- Abbott Diabetes meters at 29.2%- and the winner is:Becton Dickinson (BD) meters at just 15% time/date innaccuracy rate
This is all about USER ERROR, mind you, since wepatient types are tasked with setting the date and time on our meters. But theresults suggest that date and time may just be too complicated to fiddle with onmost meters. Or it may be that "different populations of patients use differentmeter types (e.g., more patients using insulin pumps use the BD meter)," thestudy notes. In either case, the doctors draw two important conclusionshere:
1) the diabetes community is becoming more dependent on glucose meter downloading, due to an increase in home blood glucose testing and the introduction of real-time continuous glucose sensors, so it's more important than ever to correct this problem soon
2) a greater emphasis could be made to educate patients about date andtime accuracy, but "a better solution would be to have the blood glucose meterindustry make a greater effort to have the date and time set appropriately priorto use by the patient"
Yes, make it easy and we will get it right. Right?Amen!