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In the history of blood glucose meters, there’s never been one as sleek and consumer-tech cool-looking as the One Drop meter made by a New York startup by the same name. No wonder it’s the only glucose meter to be sold in Apple stores around the country.
With its sexy chrome finish on the meter, test strip vial and lancing device, along with a molded Vegan leather case, this kit looks like it could have been designed by Apple itself.
But One Drop offers more than a good look. Their easy-to-use smartphone app offers artificial intelligence (AI)-powered predictive health forecasts, and 1-on-1 coaching from diabetes educators directly via the app. Also, the system easily connects to many other digital platforms and devices, including the Apple Watch.
And what’s especially convenient is their sales model, in which you get all the supplies you need shipped directly to your door regularly, with no need to visit a pharmacy or interact with any medical supplier.
For a company using the tagline “Reimagine possible,” One Drop is certainly making a worthy effort to offer more in a different way that fits into our lives with diabetes, rather than making us readjust our worlds to use the product.
DiabetesMine has been watching One Drop since its start in 2016. We’ve shared the story of founder Jeff Dachis, whose own adult-onset type 1 diabetes diagnosis paved the way for him to envision this startup. Former CEO of leading digital marketing solutions company Razorfish, Dachis is a serial entrepreneur who’s advised investors on a number of disruptive tech launches through the years.
After his own diagnosis, Dachis began his journey to remake the glucose meter into something “cool and badass,” while offering a simple, affordable subscription service for diabetes supplies as well as a mobile management platform to make our data more meaningful for us and allow for shared learnings from the community.
Here is what One Drop offers for people with diabetes:
One Drop Chrome meter. This stylistic glucometer resembles a computer thumb drive. As the name implies, it’s a thin, light, and handy plastic meter with the signature chrome finish. Clearly, a lot of effort went into designing this product to make it feel Apple-esque. It has an automatic backlight so you can see the white-on-black screen in darker rooms, but there isn’t a test strip port light, so it remains difficult to use if there isn’t enough light when testing. The meter is Bluetooth-enabled and automatically sends data to the One Drop mobile app for both iOS and Android. Its storage holds 300 readings.
Test strips. These come in counts of 25, 50, and 100 strip vials (depending on where you buy them). Staying on-brand, the strip container is made of shiny chrome with a color accent line. The all-black test strips use 0.5 microliters of blood, which is roughly a small droplet the size of a pinhead. After applying the blood to the middle edge of the strip, the strip sucks in the droplet and counts down from five before providing a blood sugar reading.
Lancing device and lancets. The lancing device is also in shiny chrome. It measures 3.75 inches long by 0.75 wide, and is a marker-style upright handheld finger-poker. It uses short round 33G lancets, which you can buy directly from One Drop or other lancet manufacturers.
Innovative carrying case. While you’re not required to use the carrying case provided (even though One Drop claims it’s the best one to prevent from damaging the meter), it is worth a shout-out. Because this case is totally unlike anything you’ve seen before in the medical world. Forget the worthless black zippered nylon bag with mysterious elastic loops that most meter makers provide. One Drop has created a wallet-like open-topped carrying case that keeps all the components snugly together and makes rapid access a breeze. While best suited to purses, sport coat pockets, or cargo pants, the case can actually be carried in the back pocket of a pair of jeans more comfortably than you’d imagine by looking at it. It comes in both black and brown Vegan leather. This is a great choice unless you also want to carry backup insulin and other supplies all in one place.
Powered by the highly-accurate AgaMatrix technology found in other common strips and meters like the CVS Advanced meter, the One Drop meter meets the FDA’s fingerstick glucose measurement standards. Clinical trial data show that 99 percent of BG readings on the One Drop Chrome are within 20 percent of lab results and 95 percent are within 15 percent of lab results.
Comparative studies by the Diabetes Technology Society show that AgaMatrix-powered meters are among the top 5 most accurate meters on the market.
The One Drop mobile app is a free cloud-based app available for iOS and Android devices, compatible with iPhones, Android smartphones as well as iPad, iPod Touch. It’s available in six languages including English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, French, and Russian.
It offers direct connectivity to the Apple Watch, and also connects to Apple Health for data-sharing, plus it offers integration with many other health and diabetes apps like Dexcom (continuous glucose monitor app), Fitbit, Garmin, One Touch, Weight Watchers, and MyFitnessPal.
The top of the main data screen shows your average glucose reading and a horizontal line chart displaying your trend line, as well as any insulin on board, daily activity levels, and any carbs you’ve entered.
There’s also a “community” tab where you can connect with other users if you wish, and a “news” tab to see the latest One Drop and health alert notices that might be of interest.
Another popular feature is the world’s largest built-in food database, containing thousands of foods and beverages. The app can also scan product barcodes right from the product labels to provide carb counts and other nutrition information. You can also enter and save your favorite meals for future reference.
If you happen to use the Dexcom CGM, you’re in luck. One Drop can grab that glucose data and display it right in the app (with a 3-hour delay, due to FDA regulations). You’re able to see trends and different analysis, including how often you’re in-range or getting low and high results. All you have to do is sync your Dexcom account to allow One Drop to access that data.
One Drop was the first diabetes device to integrate directly with the Apple Watch. This means you can track blood sugars, medications, meals, exercise and other health information right on the smartwatch. The display shows you daily stats, as well as goal progress and a summary of in-range glucose readings.
Clinical study data show that using the One Drop app helps people many better manage their diabetes. This
One Drop is more than a meter and app. The company also offers expert diabetes coaching and advanced data forecasts and insights via their premium services sold in various subscription programs:
- 1-on-1 coaching. Get matched with a Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (DCES) as your personal health coach, who is available via the mobile app and text messaging to answer questions, provide feedback, and offer encouragement. These experts typically respond within 24 hours, according to One Drop.
- Interactive transformation plans. Backed by behavioral science, One Drop’s transformation plans use infographics, prompts, commitment pledges, articles, and quizzes to help motivate users to improve their diabetes and health habits. Personalized plans are available for people with any type of diabetes, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or any combination thereof.
- Glucose forecasts. For those with type 2 diabetes who use insulin, One Drop offers an Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that helps predict future blood sugars. This also provides personalized recommendations to help improve care.
- Blood pressure insights. Beyond diabetes, One Drop premium subscription members worldwide can receive in-app messages with blood pressure trends, behavioral reinforcements, and alerts for hypertensive crises.
On Amazon, the One Drop Chrome meter gets an average of 4.1 out of 5 stars, with 331 current reviews.
One Amazon reviewer says: “The One Drop is love at first sight. This meter lists glucose numbers, meds, meals, physical activity, builds reports, and [does] some other things. To put it mildly, the meter is outstanding. This meter and associated app does an excellent job of interfacing with other tools. Kudos to the One Drop group!”
The meter gets high props for its looks, style, and thin profile. I have to agree with that personally, because I love that I can just pop it in my pocket and carry it around without much effort.
Some reviewers note “minor annoyances” like disappointment that the small plastic meter isn’t actually made of chrome as they expected from the product name. Others report that they experienced accuracy issues, despite the clinical data showing that it is indeed more accurate than most other products of this kind.
On the Google Play store, the app also gets an average of 4.1 out of 5 stars, with 2,871 current reviews. One top reviewer writes: “If you are a diabetic this is the best app for help and staying on the right track. The memberships are good and the health coaches are amazing. There is a news feed for tips and health advice. One Drop has an open invitation for everyone who is trying to reverse the condition of diabetes and pre-diabetes, hypertension. All platforms within this One Drop Application [are] amazing.”
Some users do note having difficulty with the app crashing, and experiencing glitches after product updates.
Still, the enthusiasm for the coaching and premium services is clear. One reviewer writes, “Amazingly helpful. Coach is terrific, and tracking more regularly creates a bit of a self-competitiveness for better numbers.”
Another reviewer adds: “This program offers what my employer-provided one did not. Not only am I getting the tools (meter, strips, coaching, etc.) to manage my diabetes, but I can also log so much more, like my weight, blood pressure, and more. Add on to that the ability to log my meals to see my carb macro-nutrients and it’s a solid program.”
You can find One Drop in Apple stores and on Amazon, as well as in Best Buy and CVS pharmacies. One Drop has its own online store where you can purchase all the supplies and digital subscription plans.
One Drop is not covered by insurance as of 2021, because it’s a direct-to-consumer product with a subscription plan. However, many people are able to use their yearly Health Savings Plan and Flexible Spending Account (FSA) to purchase supplies. One Drop does offer itemized receipts for those needing to submit them for reimbursement.
Additionally, One Drop offers an employer-provided option for those who might want to get their supplies as part of a health benefit through their job. See One Drop’s employer program page for more detail.
There are many different options for those looking for a traditional glucose meter that takes fingerstick readings. Some features vary, and they vary in their connection to smartphone apps and ability to monitor data trends. But most work pretty much the same way overall.
The only other meter that’s paired with health coaching and connected devices in a program similar to One Drop’s is Livongo. They offer a color coded meter, subscription service with unlimited test strips and supplies, and expert advice from certified diabetes educators. That glucose meter itself is not as appealing, however, if the aesthetic is important to you.
Color us impressed.
One Drop can do a lot of good for a lot of people. First, it ups the ante on design of medical products with its modern, sexy meter that’s a joy to look at and use.
Their app is intelligent, easy-to-use, and syncs easily with CGM results, insulin pen and pump information, and a variety of other health devices/data.
The system is affordable, doesn’t place limits on test strips, and has the added benefit of offering quick answers from medical professionals for those willing or able to pay a bit more.
In a world in which getting ahold of your healthcare providers can be difficult, One Drop offers a full package of tools and resources to help people best manage their diabetes on their own.