While we're talking about new Bluetooth-enabled diabetes tools... Yesterday Glooko, makers of the popular cable that allows users to easily download meter readings from a multitude of FDA-cleared glucose meters into their mobile device, launched something called "MeterSync Blue" that will reportedly "bluetooth-enable tens of millions of blood glucose meters worldwide" (!)
The MeterSync Blue is, quite literally, a little black box that sits between the meter and mobile device. It can communicate with the mobile device within 15 feet, and is able to Bluetooth-connect more than 30 popular blood glucose meters to the Glooko platform on Android or Apple devices, "as an easier alternative to a physical connection with the current Glooko MeterSync cable," the company reports.
For a majority of meters, a small serial cable is used to plug the MeterSync Blue into the meter. For Accu-Chek meters, no cable is required.
You can watch these tutorial videos demonstrating its use:
Wow! This looks like a pretty easy tool to use, with a lot of potential.
As Glooko states, "the company's diabetes management platform provides health systems and payer groups the ability to more cost"effectively enroll diabetes patients into remote monitoring programs without the need for patients to switch to costly, wireless"enabled, blood glucose meters developed specifically for telemedicine. Instead, health systems and payer groups can leverage the tens of millions of meters already deployed to patients worldwide."
Note that Glooko has raised huge amounts of investor money recently, including $7 million from Samsung alone for a total of $11.5 million, according to authorities. If a consumer-tech company like Samsung is pouring all its mobile-diabetes-care efforts into Glooko, you have to believe that some smart folks out there are strong believers in the potential of this tool!
So here's what we want to know, as would-be customers, in the form of questions posed to Glooko Marketing Manager Vikram Singh:
DM) How much will it cost?
VS) Retail cost for direct-to-consumer sales will start at $59.95. We expect the bulk of distribution to come through health systems and payer groups (insurance companies) who will purchase the devices in bulk at a discount and the patient will be given it for free.
So it will be covered by insurance...?
Glooko's primary customers are health systems and payer groups seeking to use a diabetes remote monitoring and population management platform. Using the Glooko system, at-risk organizations can cost-effectively enroll diabetes patients into remote monitoring programs while allowing patients to continue using the insured meters produced by major meter manufacturers like Roche, Lifescan, Abbott, Bayer, Nipro, Arkray, etc. (full list here) The mindset of organizations adopting Glooko is focused on improving patient outcomes while lowering costs for the organization over the long term by avoiding hospitalizations and co-morbidities.
So the answer regarding insurance is yes and no. The majority of patients using Glooko will be on-boarded by Glooko's enterprise health system and payer group customers and for these patients the cost will be covered. For the individuals that purchase Glooko on their own, a reimbursement code is not currently available.
Will users be able to share the data with other platforms, or only in Glooko's app?
For our enterprise health system and payer customers, we are already sharing data (with patient's permission of course) via our API's into EHR's (Electronic Heatlh Records) and other systems for care management. We are also engaged on a number of research projects where data will be shared with other platforms. For individual users, we allow them to download a CSV of their data directly and can do whatever they want with it. We definitely want to facilitate and be part of the data sharing ecosystem.
On a related topic, we are also working on allowing users to bring in data from third-party exercise devices, blood pressure cuffs and weight scales so this data can be presented with their diabetes-specific data. This functionality will be released on a limited scale within the coming weeks.
How soon and where can users get it?
Users will be able to purchase the MeterSync Blue off of Glooko's own web store. Glooko will be selling the MeterSync Blue and MeterSync for Android in limited release cycles, the first of which took place on Thursday, Oct. 2.
Those interested in purchasing the MeterSync Blue should sign up to be notified at glooko.com/gmb.
I guess $60 out-of-pocket isn't too bad for this, if one can afford it. Getting it for free from your insurance company as an additional tool to make glucose testing more effective is even better!