MyGlucoHealth Blood Glucose MeterRecently I was given the MyGlucoHealth blood glucose meter for review. It's made by Entra Health Systems a new entrant to this enormous market.
I considered giving a summary up front, but itís not that easy with this meter. It has some good points and ways in which it can be improved, I donít think a summary would do justice to these.
The meter arrived in an elegant white box somewhat like an Apple product. I was really pleased to see the meter picture on the front had a blood glucose reading of 157 mg/dL. Finally, a manufacturer thatís not scared to show a more realistic reading.
The box contained the meter and the usual accessories (lancing device, lancets, some test strips, a carrying case, a USB cable, and an instruction manual). Two AAA batteries were included. I'm glad to see that is uses these instead of the more expensive button batteries used on many other small meters. The cost of this kit is $89.95 on the http://www.myglucohealthstore.com site. I was also given 50 test strips, which are worth an additional $49.95.
While small, the meter is not compact. Hereís a picture of the myglucohealth meter (on the right) beside a OneTouch UltraMini (on top), a WaveSense Jazz on the left and a Bayer Breeze2 Meter in the middle.
From this picture you can see that the blood glucose readings are large and easily readable. Unfortunately thereís no backlight, so using the meter in low light levels is really not an option
The strips require a 0.3ĶL drop of blood and results are shown in about 3 seconds, which is fairly standard features on the better meters available today. The meter is self coding, when you insert a strip the code is read off it and displayed, so you save a little time on each new vial of strips.
You can use the meter straight out of the box, though MyGlucoHealth strongly suggests you read the manual. I didnít do this and wasted several strips until I talked with MyGlucoHealth support. Hereís the problem, after you insert the strip and the code is displayed you have to select an activity code before you can add a blood sample. This is not obvious and completely different to the many other meters that Iíve used.
Even after learning this I continued to waste strips because Iíd apply blood after the code disappeared but before I chose an Ďactivityí. There are four activities to choose from: before a meal; after a meal; after sports; after taking drugs. This is a very limited set of options: what about sickness or fasting options? What if I didn't want to add an activity code?
I think the need to choose the activity before testing is a poor design choice and Iím surprised this wasnít fixed when the meter was being field tested before release.
The meter has a neat little slider at the top which makes it easier to extract the used strip.
The supplied kit also comes with a 3-month MyGlucoHealth.net subscription. This is the site where you can upload your readings, add other health information and share these with your healthcare providers. I donít know what the annual costs are for an ongoing subscription.
I did hit a snag when trying to upload readings from my meter. I had chosen a password that contained invalid characters, so it wasnít accepted. Unfortunately I didnít get a warning about this and had to contact MyGlucoHealth support to resolve this problem.
To upload readings you create an account, logon and press the big blue Get Readings button on the home page of the web site. This launches an application from the web site that asks you to connect your meter. (Firefox users, youíll need to install the Microsoft .NET Framework Assistant before doing this.)
The first time you do this, youíll need to fill in a short form so this application can connect with the web site to send the data from your MyGlucoHealth meter.
Then go back to the Meter tab on this application
Now you need to connect your meter. You can either plug in the standard USB cable thatís provided, or you can connect directly if youíve got Bluetooth on your PC. I tried both approaches and they worked equally well.
After all the readings are downloaded the Meter tab will change to show the most recent blood glucose reading. You can add a comment to go with this reading, or use the arrows to add comments to any other readings. (You can also add comments to readings on the web site.) Press the Continue button and all your data is on the MyGlucoHealth.net website.
On the website you can view your readings as a chart
Or as a table
You can also add other readings, such as my HbA1c line in the middle of the above table. And you can export your readings to an Excel spreadsheet from this page
If your doctor is registered on the MyGlucoHealth site then they can review your readings and exchange messages with you through this secure site. Itís not clear to me how healthcare providers register, currently there are less than 30 doctors listed on the My Doctors tab.
The site allows you to set reminders when your testing frequency is below a specified level, or when the supply of test strips is below a certain amount, and other options. You can also setup alerts when your blood sugar is out of range and have these sent as email or text messages to several people.
For the first meter from a new company in this space I think the MyGlucoHealth meter scores about 70 out of 100. These days I assume that meters will be full featured and well designed, unfortunately the meter doesn't score top marks for either of these.
It can calculate averages, store up to 250 results, and remind you when you need to test. But the lack of any backlight is surprising. The user manual is barely adequate and really needs improvement. For example the explanation for setting alarms and average results were very hard to follow.
The ability to upload readings directly to a website is innovative. With electronic health records (EHR) and personal health records (PHR) I think many new meters are going to have a feature like this. This is forward thinking.
The Bluetooth connectivity and the use of a completely standard USB cable is nice (WaveSense take note). However you need to install a serial driver if youíre going to use the USB cable, which is irritating even if other meter companies do the same thing.
The website is nicely interactive using Adobe Flash technology appropriately. But the upload software is Microsoft .NET based, so I donít think it will work on non-Windows machines. These days, all diabetes device makers should be building software that runs on Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
Thereís no way to take readings off the meter without the software from the website, which means you need internet access to use the meter effectively. Iíd believe there should b separate download software than can be used without the need to be online, but I know this won't be important for everyone.
I hope that Entra Health Systems succeeds with this meter and the website, so that more manufacturers follow this integrated approach.
Update: The MyGlucoHealth meter can be purchased here http://www.myglucometer.com.