Talk about cool packages arriving in the mail: last week, I got a surprise from Can-Am Care, in the form of a test unit of the company's new Renew lancing device.

Who would have thought that anything could make drawing your own blood more fun? This system really is pleasant to use.

Renew_fingers

A quick overview of my experience with Renew:

PROs -

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* handy and "fun" design

* easy to advance and "cock" (ahem...)

* virtually painless (for real, I hardly felt a thing)

* no loose needles, no need to carry or replace them

* you're using a clean, fresh needle each time (how important? no idea, but nice to know)

CONs -

* very low pressure: I found I had to crank it up to the highest depth and mash my finger up against it to draw any blood at all

* if you "miss" and don't draw blood, you still have to advance to the next of 20 microlancets stored on the cartridge. In other words, you waste one.

* it doesn't fit in your standard glucose meter carrying case, so yet another med-gadget to schlep around separately

* price - the base unit is only $11, but each set of 5 cartridges (good for 100 pricks) will set you back another $12. I'm lousy at math, but it's pretty obvious this is a lot more expensive than most systems we're using now -- where your insurance sends you buckets of lancet needles and you can use each one for, well... far too long ;)

Anyone game to try getting their health plan to cover the Renew system? I suppose you'd need proof that it's "medically necessary" over older, cheaper lancing devices.

On that note, a number of readers have called my attention to the Pelikan Sun, a very sleek-looking and supposedly painless electronic lancing device from a very ambitious company here in Palo Alto, CA (they just secured $69 Million in VC financing).

Pelikan_sun_2

This little gold box uses proprietary "state-of-the-art miniaturization and automation" to make a lancet that you don't feel at all. At least what the kids say in the videos. I'm inclined to believe them.

A mother who reads this blog wrote me:

"We just bought the device for our 10-year-old. I don't know if you have actually tried one yourself yet; it really does work without pain, AND does a better job of getting an appropriate amount of blood on the first attempt. We've frequently had to choose between one painful fingerstick we know will draw blood (and keep bleeding) or multiple attempts on a lower setting. After just three days of using the device, he's no longer tensing up to test because two minutes after testing, he can't even find the spot again because there is no residual pain. They also claim it creates less scar tissue, and since he is just 10, we are in this for the long haul.

I'd say this is that rare 'pain-free' technology that does have value. At $200, it isn't cheap, but we just tell Max that college is overrated : )"

Gotta love her! Yup, $200 is no small sum just for a lancing device, not to mention the $15 for each set of replacement cartridges (50 pricks on each, so 100 total). The company says the Pelikan is covered by insurance like any other lancing device, but I'm guessing it's ditto on my comments above. Still, I think if it were my child getting poked all the time, and I could afford it, I'd buy this thing out-of-pocket in a minute.

Now I'm just so darn curious: What kind of lancing device do you all use? What are the PROs and CONs?

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