The iPhone integration dreams of many a diabetic are coming true at last!!

Sanofi-Aventis made history today at the annual EASD (European Association for the Study of Diabetes) conference, if you ask me. They have introduced the first-ever medical device that actually physically plugs into the iPhone and iPod Touch! It's a tiny new USB-sized glucose meter they're calling iBGStar. It's coupled with the new iBGStar Diabetes Manager program, a free logging app that users will be able to download from the iTunes store when the new product hits the market around January or February of 2011.

According to the press release, "The ultra-compact iBGStarTM can be plugged into an iPhone® or iPod touch® and displays results on a full-color, touch screen. It can also be used separately for on-the-go testing."

Here's a first look:

Innovation 2015

iBGStar was developed for Sanofi by my friends at AgaMatrix, who introduced the first BG meter with a cable plug-in to Apple products not long ago.

Note that the iBGStar still requires FDA 510(k) clearance in the US, and has not yet been submitted. The Powers That Be tell me they've worked to pave the way to quick FDA clearance by designing iBGStar "to make it a completely stand-alone meter that works even better when plugged into an iPhone or iPod Touch."

As a stand-alone, the little meter has its own color display screen, its own battery, a 300-test memory, "and is perfectly usable on its own as a very small and discreet meter." In other words, it works very similarly to current glucose meters, except that the iPhone/iTouch "download cable" technology is built into the meter. The magic for users is in the ability to couple your BG meter with your phone, of course. There will even be new iPhone cases designed to encompass the phone + meter duo!

The accompanying D-management app ("iBGStar Diabetes Manager") looks and feels a whole lot like AgaMatrix's current WaveSense app for the iPhone, they tell me. It works pretty much like traditional logging software for PCs — the interaction between the meter and software is the same — "but the level of utility is greater when its attached to an iPhone." (!)

iBGStar will be available for purchase directly from Sanofi. Pricing is still TBD, but is expected to be in the $8o range, according to some industry observers.

The cases will most likely be "promotional incentives" for early purchasers, and will later be sold as retail items through "traditional channels," with pricing comparable to other Apple accessories, I am told.

More, according to the press release: "The specially-designed and simple iBGStar Diabetes Manager App will allow data to be easily managed and communicated to healthcare professionals...

"These products open up new possibilities for patients to record, understand, and act on their diabetes data, as well as for healthcare professionals (HCP's) to further educate their patients about diabetes management. Patients can now enter and review results with color coding, see graphs with results noted for follow up, and utilize email connectivity to simplify communication with HCP's or caregivers."

And I guess it's not just press-release fluff; world-famous endocrinologist and pump expert Dr. Bruce Bode of Atlanta Diabetes Associates provided me with this statement about the iBGStar launch:

"Many diabetes products have become so advanced and complicated that people have a hard time keeping up and making the technology relevant for their lives. But the iBGStar is really something else... I have never seen such an incredible device in my 25 years as an diabetologist."

"The user experience is so rich and just amazingly simple. When you look at the iBGStar, you just know what to do with it — plug it into the iPhone, stick a strip in, and test! Amazing! The potential for this connectivity to the healthcare providers, family members, and smart software systems will change how we manage diabetes in the future. Sanofi-Aventis really knows how to enter this space with style."

— Dr. Bruce Bode, MD,

endocrinologist & expert on insulin delivery and glucose sensing

KABLOOM!

(I just felt like saying that) I for one am really excited to see the industry knocking down FDA walls to integration of consumer and medical products.

You could say this launch opens up a new chapter in the evolution of smart, connected personal devices: they are no longer useful only for basic communication and "infotainment," but are now turning into mission-critical health devices — with this product being the first major proof-point available.

You could say that. Or you could say that the two Northwestern graduate students who won the 2009 DiabetesMine Design Challenge were true visionaries, with their LifeCase/LifeApp system for the iPhone.

At least we know the industry is listening! As per Sanofi's press release: "The iBGStar system has been designed by listening to the needs and desires of people with diabetes." {grin}

And furthermore: "iBGStar is based on the patented Dynamic Electro­chemistry® technology ensuring accurate and reliable blood glucose readings and both devices do not require coding. BGStar (iPhone app) has various feedback features including alerts, programmable reminder alarms and positive feedback to indicate what the results mean. A large, backlit display allows results to be quickly and easily viewed, managed and discussed. In addition, the BGStar product range offers users access to a full service telephone hotline and other support services so people with diabetes can feel more confident to take charge of their lives."

Support services = always welcome!

... because fancy gadgets alone are naturally not the only thing we need to 'take charge of our diabetic lives.'

But I'll still be the first in line to try out this cool new "plug-in" meter for the iPhone. One more inventive way to make use of the extremely useful little communication device that's always by my side anyway... and potentially one less piece of medical gear we need to carry and manage separately!

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.

This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.