Glucose meters (glucometers): Main Factors to Focus

Glucose meters (glucometers): Main Factors to Focus

Consider choosing a blood sugar meter the very same way you would select a car. You might think about cost first and after that compare features to limit your choices until you find the one that works best for you. You might even have the ability to sit with a diabetes educator and examine a number of meters to obtain a feel for them, states Molly McElwee-Malloy, RN, CDE, CPT, patient care supervisor in diabetes education at the University of Virginia Health System and a spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

“The main point people think of is cost,” she says. “But I believe you should [also] consider something that is really going to do the most work for you.” If you’re baffled by all of the features to think about, focus on 5 main aspects: ease of use, size and shape, reimbursement, accuracy, and download ability.


Meters are usually budget friendly (most are in the range of $10 to $50) and are frequently discounted or complimentary with coupons. “The real cost with screening your blood glucose features the strips,” says McElwee-Malloy. Test strips retail for anywhere between less than 50 cents and $2 a strip, depending upon the innovation, and that can get costly if you inspect your blood sugar numerous times a day.

The cost of diabetes has actually never been greater, states endocrinologist Timothy Bailey, MD, FACE, CPI, director of AMCR Institute in Escondido, California, and a medical associate teacher at the University of California – San Diego School of Medicine.

A great way to conserve? Call your insurance provider to learn which meters and strips are chosen (usually noted on the company’s formulary). The cost of “favored” meters and test strips will be covered at the most benefit to you. You can still get a meter that is not chosen by your insurance, however it and the strips will cost more out of pocket.

Another money-saving tactic to consider: If you use a meter that communicates with an insulin pump – choose brands enable wireless transfer of glucose information from the meter to your pumpĀ – you may have the ability to get that meter covered by your insurance. “That is very important to point out to the insurer as clinically required, due to the fact that it works as an unit,” says McElwee-Malloy. A letter from your prescribing healthcare supplier should be sufficient. Some insurance provider might not cover these meters (even if you have the collaborating pump) or they may be offered just with a greater copay.

Last but not least, if your insurance coverage works with a mail-order provider, such as Edgepark or Liberty, your copay for test strips will be much less when you buy a 90-day supply under your resilient medical devices policy than when you use your retail drug store advantages one month at a time, says McElwee-Malloy. Long lasting medical equipment consists of any lasting device used in the home for disease or injury management and is covered separately from your drug store advantages.

Also read: Types of Diabetes Devices

Data Storage

Lots of meters save your blood glucose readings, and downloading that information can expose patterns that indicate that you have to adjust your diabetes therapy. Software provided with some meters allows you to produce different reports, such as blood sugar trends by time of day. Often your health care supplier will wish to review this information with you to spot patterns. Meters can be downloaded using a USB port that plugs into a computer system or using Bluetooth innovation to wirelessly download the data to your computer. Some meters are even mobile app – friendly and permit you to view the information on your smartphone.

The amount of storage you’ll need depends on how often you examine your blood glucose and how typically you and your health care supplier plan to download and evaluate meter data. For instance, if you examine 4 times everyday and your provider wishes to see 30 days of results, you’ll require a meter that holds at least 120 glucose worths.

Numerous types of blood glucose meters are available for at-home use, from standard designs that only read blood sugar levels, to advanced versions that offer features such as memory for saving info. The cost of blood glucose meters and testing products varies, and insurance might not always supply coverage. Research study all options prior to picking out a meter, and if you have insurance, check which meter your insurance coverage covers. Consider up-front expenses, such as how much the real meter costs, and long-lasting costs, such as how expensive screening strips and other materials are. Then, work with your doctor and find out how to effectively use your meter.

Markers and Flags

The ability to mark or flag a reading can help you spot blood glucose patterns and allow your care provider to make more educated choices about how to change your treatment strategy. You can flag when a blood glucose test has been done after workout or a meal. Menstruation is another important occasion to track, as blood glucose can vary before and/or during that time for some women.


Precision in meters is a complicated topic and needs to become part of a conversation between you and your doctor, states Bailey. Name brand meters produced by business that buy quality and product advancement are generally considered the most precise, however professionals say some store-brand meters with less-expensive test strips appear to give reliable outcomes, too.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets precision standards for meters in the United States based upon the latest recommendations from the International Organization for Standardization, which develops worldwide item requirements. The current requirements require 95 percent of all meter test leads to be within 20 percent of the real blood glucose level for outcomes greater than 75 mg/dl and within 15 mg/dl for worths below 75 mg/dl. So a blood glucose that in reality is 100 mg/dl could reveal on a meter as being in between 80 and 120 mg/dl – and still be considered accurate.

In early 2014, the FDA suggested more strict requirements. (That assistance is still under revision.) The new requirements might require that 95 percent of determined blood sugar worths be within 15 percent of the actual blood glucose level which 99 percent of meter worths be within 20 percent of the real blood glucose level.

When it comes to lead to the hypoglycemic range, under the existing standards, if your real blood glucose level is 60 mg/dl, your meter could read between 45 and 75 mg/dl and still fulfill the standards. The brand-new assistance states the reading would need to be someplace between 51 and 69 mg/dl to satisfy accuracy requirements.

The FDA assistance also suggests that meter boxes and test strip vials consist of easy-to-understand accuracy information – both on the exterior of the package and on in the insert inside.

The FDA doesn’t regularly keep an eye on blood glucose meters or strips once they hit the marketplace. This suggests some business might not keep the same level of quality and accuracy as when the items were initially authorized. Quality assurance frequently lies with healthcare companies and customers, who contact the FDA to report device failure or harmful events. “If there is a recall in test strips, it’s because the patients have detected it,” McElwee-Malloy states. “Someone has actually been hurt for that process to happen.”

On the other hand, some professionals are intending to improve access to precision information for the public, specifically for meters and strips already in stores. The only third-party accuracy screening of meters is an annual examination that appears in Consumer Reports, but that details is readily available just to customers.

The nonprofit Diabetes Technology Society plans to launch a monitoring program that will test the precision of meters currently for sale, however it’s unpredictable when screening will begin and which meters will be tested. The hope is that meters that fail the surveillance program will be taken off the marketplace.

See also: New Glucometers and CGMs for 2017

Evaluating Time

The time it takes to test is not a deal breaker: Most meters reveal a lead to less than 5 seconds. “I offer at a totally free center, and even the meter that we use, which is large and older, can do it in five seconds,” says McElwee-Malloy.

Meter Size

Meters are available in all various shapes and sizes, so it boils down to personal preference. McElwee-Malloy, who has type 1 diabetes, prefers a smaller sized unit so it doesn’t bulk up her handbag. But people with visual disability may need a bigger meter so they can see the buttons and screen more plainly.

Blood Sample Size

All meters on the marketplace require really percentages of blood for screening – some as small as the head of a pin. Since such small samples are needed, lots of meters permit alternate site screening from less-painful spots, such as the palm of the hand or the forearm. But it may be more difficult to get a sufficient blood sample from somewhere besides the fingertip. Keep in mind: It takes about 20 minutes for alternate site measurements to show changes in blood sugar, so make treatment choices based upon alternate site readings only when blood glucose levels are steady.


Individuals with visual problems may choose a backlight (which lights up the meter’s screen for simpler watching in low light) or a meter with color in order to help them check out. McElwee-Malloy suggests looking for a meter that is marketed as being high contrast or has the capability to alter the contrast, which can help individuals with reduced vision better distinguish letters and numbers from background colors.

Modern Features

As innovation advances, so do meters, which can make testing and sharing information simpler and easier.

  • Bluetooth: Some meters have Bluetooth capabilities, which implies you can wirelessly transfer information to your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
  • USB Port: Many meters permit you to download information to your computer with a USB cable television: Plug one side into your meter and the other into your computer system. Some meters plug straight into a computer’s USB port.
  • Bolus Calculator: Roche’s Accu-Chek Aviva Expert, which is offered just by prescription, uses a bolus calculator that suggests a dose of mealtime insulin based upon your blood glucose reading and your meals.
  • Cellular Capability: These meters use a cellular connection to automatically send information to the cloud, a remote server you can access online. For instance, if a school nurse tests your child’s blood glucose before lunch, you can immediately see test outcomes on a computer or smartphone. McElwee-Malloy says more cellular-capable meters will release in the coming year. It will be an essential action for technology in the health care field. “I think this will be a requirement of care, so that we can take a look at the results on the cloud and help patients from afar,” she says. “I believe telemedicine is going to go far with something like this.”
2 Replies to “Glucose meters (glucometers): Main Factors to Focus”
  1. David

    I was just recently detected with type 2 diabetes. I test two times a day and take 1000mg/day of metformin. My glucose levels have actually dropped from 292 to 188 in a span of two weeks. I walk 30 minutes a day, and view my sugar/carbohydrate consumption. I eat a serving of fruit with every meal.

    i purchased my meter at Walmart, I believe I spent $20.00 bucks for the meter, lancets, and strips. the strips are $9.00 for 50. and the lancets were about the very same for 100. I do not need all the elegant tech, just a meter. I work in innovation, so I do not get caught up in the ‘features’ Sure they are hassle-free, but so is a paper and pencil for tracking my levels. I can keep a journal on what I eat too, at that exact same time.

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