Transmitting Tests Without Wires

A German company has developed the world’s first blood glucose meter that can wirelessly transmit your blood glucose test results. The GlucoTel is the first meter to support Bluetooth wireless technology.

“The important point is that your data will be transmitted using your cell phone,” Tan Siekmann told me. I called Siekmann at the headquarters of his company, Safe-com, in Burg Lichtenfels, Germany, where he is the company’s managing director.

Most Cell Phones Support Bluetooth Technology

Siekmann says that 95 percent of the cell phones sold today support Bluetooth technology. “Using the cell phone as the relay in real time to servers in the United States and Germany, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world or where the server is,” Siekmann says. “If you have your cell phone within about 15 meters [50 feet] of the GlucoTel, your readings will be on the server within seconds.”

From there the secure servers can automatically send the data to a doctor’s office, to a concerned parent or to anyone else who needs to know. Messages can be returned, too. For example, your doctor or diabetes educator can instantly send messages back to you through the built-in message center.

You can also use your cell phone in another way, Siekmann says. If it’s too dark to read the test results on the GlucoTel or too hard to read without glasses, you can have your cell phone read the results out loud to you in plain English.

The Size and Shape of a Pen

At the June 2006 ADA Scientific Sessions in Washington D.C., I was impressed by the attractiveness and small size of the GlucoTel prototype displayed by Safe-com. It is about the size and shape of a marker pen and it will easily fit in your shirt pocket.

Siekmann says they expect to obtain FDA approval for the GlucoTel by November or December 2006 at the latest.

“We will have it on the market by January 1 in the United States, Europe and Japan,” he told me.

Quick Readings, Small Samples, Small Price

The meter’s statistics and pricing look good, too. It provides a result in 10 seconds and uses only 0.65 microliters of blood. Siekmann says that they estimate that it will sell for $35 to $40, with strip prices approximately $25 for a vial of 50.

My current cell phone is an older model that isn’t Bluetooth-enabled. Now I have an excellent reason to start shopping for a new cell phone.

The Virtual Tracker

The nearest thing available today to the GlucoTel’s wireless method of transmitting your test results is the Virtual Tracker. This device will take glucose readings from your blood glucose meter and send them over the Internet to a database, where doctors anywhere in the world can view your results.

You connect the Virtual Tracker to your phone line and your meter and then push a button. That’s it. It doesn’t require a computer.

HMD BioMedical in Titusville, Florida, distributes this device.

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