Resources for Evaluating Meters

We have so many blood glucose meters tochoose from that it’s hard to know whichone to use. I count 43 home meters for salein the United States right now.

With so many choices, where can you go forreliable comparative evaluations?


The most professional group that evaluatesmeters, DirecNet is not as well known as itdeserves to be.

According to William V. Tamborlane, MD,DirecNet’s mission is to do studies thatadvance the therapy of children withtype 1. Tamborlane, who is a professorof pediatric endocrinology at the YaleSchool of Medicine, says that DirecNethas concentrated most of its research oncontinuous sensors because they are suchan important breakthrough in diabetesmanagement. However, DirecNet alsoreviews regular meters.

In an article appearing in the October 2005Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics,DirecNet compared the accuracyof the OneTouch Ultra with thatof Abbott’s FreeStyle Flash.Their conclusion: Both metersare highly accurate over a broadrange of glucose levels.

DirecNet evaluates accuracy but notprecision.

“We do not have formal data on precision,”says Roy Beck, MD, executive director ofJaeb Center for Health Research in Tampa,Florida. “But we have been impressed withtheir consistency.”

The DirecNet team is also starting to studythe Guardian RT and the forthcomingAbbott Navigator meters. Both arecontinuous sensors. Stay tuned.

Consumer Reports

Another group that evaluates blood glucosemeters is Consumer Reports, which tests afew meters from time to time. Most recently,in its August 2005 issue, their lab tested 13meters for “consistency”—technically called“precision”—and for accuracy. That articlestates that consistency is more importantthan accuracy, a point with which I agree.

Consumer Reports rated no meters“excellent” for consistency, but eight meters were considered very good: LifeScan’sOneTouch UltraSmart and OneTouch Ultra,Accu-Chek’s Complete and Compact,Abbott’s FreeStyle and FreeStyle Flash,Bayer’s Ascensia Contour and Becton-Dickinson’s Logic.

DirecNet is the Diabetes Research in ChildrenNetwork, consisting of five clinical centers and onedata-coordinating center. The clinical centers are thepediatric departments at

  • Yale University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Iowa
  • The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver
  • The Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida

The data-coordinating center for DirecNet is the Jaeb Centerfor Health Research in Tampa, Florida, where Roy Beck, MD,is the executive director.

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