Imagine being able to pop a blood-glucose testing device into your personal digital assistant (PDA), put blood on the strip and store the results in the PDA. Now you can do just that, thanks to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of two such devices in mid-June 2002.
Both the FreeStyle Tracker Diabetes Management System, from TheraSense, Inc., of Alameda, California, and the Accu-Chek Advantage Module, by Roche Diagnostics Corp. of Indianapolis, Indiana, were cleared by the FDA on June 12, 2002.
The meters, which plug into a Handspring Visor PDA, automatically record your blood-glucose levels as you take your reading. The systems can also generate charts, graphs and averages from that information. In addition, the systems allow you to enter other health data, such as blood pressure, A1C results and ketones into the PDA. You can also record data such as carbohydrates consumed and insulin taken.
As an extra offering, the FreeStyle Tracker includes a food list. Look up what you’re eating, and it gives you the nutrition content of your meal.
Ironically, just as the blood-glucose meter plug-ins are being released, Handspring, Inc., is halting further development of its PDAs that have Springboard expansion slots in order to focus on the new Treo line of PDAs.
“We won’t be innovating the Visor line,” says Holly McDermott, corporate communication manager for Handspring. McDermott adds, however, that the Visor line will continue to be available because of the newly released medical devices that plug into the expansion slot.
A plus is that the Visor line has already come down in price. TheraSense, at least, says that it will pass along any savings to customers who buy the FreeStyle Tracker.
Both systems are available either with a Handspring Visor or as the plug-in module alone. The FreeStyle Tracker uses FreeStyle blood-glucose testing strips, while the Advantage Module uses Comfort Curve strips.
Beam Me Up!
Infrared technology also plays a part in the two companies’ innovations.
With the FreeStyle system, you can place your PDA in a cradle, push a button and beam the information stored in the PDA into your personal computer. Information goes into the FreeStyle Web-Based Data Management System that, with your permission, can also be accessed by your healthcare team. You can upload information into the program from a FreeStyle meter with the addition of a cable available from TheraSense.
Accu-Chek’s new Pocket Compass Diabetes Care software works on PDAs that use the Palm OS platform. The Pocket Compass software works with the Accu-Chek Compact and Accu-Chek Active blood-glucose monitoring systems, which have built-in infrared capabilities to beam data directly into PDAs that use the Palm OS system. In addition, the software gives you the ability to integrate data from all Accu-Chek meters and organize it in one spot. Data from Pocket Compass software can be shared with Roche’s Accu-Chek Compass and Accu-Chek Camit Pro desktop software.
And There’s More!
Because the modules plug into a PDA, you also get the advantages offered by the handheld computer, such as a calendar, phone book, calculator, an alarm to remind you of appointments, and more.