By: David Mendosa
It’s news whenever a new blood glucosemeter becomes available. Two new bloodglucose meters from a new company is evenbigger news. The biggest news is that one ofthese new meters works with a device thatautomatically uploads your readings to familyor healthcare professionals—all withoutusing a computer.
The meters are the GlucoLeader Enhanceand the GlucoLeader Value from HMDBioMedical of Titusville, Florida. The Enhancehas respectable stats. It requires only a1.5-microliter blood sample and providesresults in less than 15 seconds. In my informalevaluation, its results correlated well with themeter I regularly use. The GlucoLeader Valuerequires a 3-microliter blood sample, but it isjust as fast as the Enhance.
Works With Virtual Tracker
Even more important than the GlucoLeaderEnhance’s superior stats is that it workswith the company’s Virtual Tracker, whichincludes a modem without the need of acomputer. Just plug it into a phone line andleave it connected, just like an answeringmachine. When you are ready to upload yourreadings, plug the GlucoLeader Enhance intothe Virtual Tracker and send your readingswith the press of a button. It automaticallyconnects to a toll-free number.
“This is the first meter that will notifywhoever you authorize to let them know ifyour readings are beyond the parameters youhave set,” says HMD BioMedical CEO BryanSoward.
Nothing Else Like It on the Market
From my discussions with Soward, itseems that the prices have just been set.The company sells to distributors, whothen supply dealers, who ultimately sell itto people with diabetes. The suggestedretail prices are $69.95 for the GlucoLeaderEnhance meter kit with Virtual Tracker, $69.95for the GlucoLeader Value meter kit and$39.95 for a box of 50 GlucoLeader Enhanceor GlucoLeader Value test strips.
There is nothing else like the Virtual Trackeron the market now. Yet the concept isremarkably similar to a wonderful littlemodem called the LifeChart Reporter that Itested in 1999 for an article on telemedicine.This device, which connected some metersto a phone line without using a computer,hasn’t been available for years. When Imentioned it to Soward, he wasn’t aware of it.So the Virtual Tracker sounds like an exampleof parallel discovery—good minds thinkingalike. That’s news.
The GlucoMON Alternative
The nearest alternative now available to the Virtual Tracker is a devicecalled the GlucoMON, which I reviewed in the August 2004 issue ofDiabetes Health (“GlucoMON: In Touch When You Can’t Be,” page 58). The GlucoMON is a cradle for a meter that automatically and wirelessly sends meter readings to selected recipients. Diabetech, a company in Dallas, Texas, makes the device and manages the service.
But sales of the GlucoMON are currently on hold, says Diabetech CEOKevin McMahon. The Food and Drug Administration has told thecompany that the device requires a pre-market notification—510(k)approval. McMahon expects that the GlucoMON will be back on themarket in the fall.