Island in the Net

A personal blog by Khürt Williams, full of inchoate writing on photography, coffee, and geekery.

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The Glooko cable is now part of my daily diabetes kit

About two weeks ago I posted about my decision to stop using the iBGStar glucose meter. I love the iBGStar. It is perfect in every way. It’s small, light and connects to my iPhone for data download. I ranted and raved about it to everyone I know. People in my family were starting to think I either owned significant stock in the company or were on the payroll. However, for budgetary reasons I had to stop using the meter.

Someone on a social network suggested the ACCU-CHEK nano. However, the nano doesn’t isn’t OS X compatible so I ruled that one out right away. Someone from Glooko commented on my blog post and I remembered that I already had the cable.

Take a look at a photo of my daily diabetes management kit:

The Glooko cable is now part of my daily diabetes kit, 20120727 NIKON D40 9728 960x959

It’s neither convenient nor elegant. The LifeScan OneTouch mini connects to my iPhone via the Glooko cable. The cable is also compatible with my Abbot FreeStyle Flash but the system is much bulkier than the small sleek iBGStar. The Glooko software is functional but lacks the user interface finesse that I’ve come to expect from iPhone software.

The Glooko cable is now part of my daily diabetes kit, IMG 2599

Like the iBGStar software, I can download and track my blood glucose (BG) and add a note about a number of carbohydrates in my meal and my insulin dosage. I can tag each BG entry as before or after a meal. This is useful for spotting trends.

The Glooko cable is now part of my daily diabetes kit, IMG 2600

The Glooko has a database of foods. I can look up nutritional information on brand-name foods but also generic things like raspberries. That’s something the iBGStar can’t do (yet). I don’t eat much-packaged food or chain restaurant food — who wants bland, high sodium, fatty, HFC laden food? — so the food database is not of much use to me. However, I could see why it might appeal to the other people with diabetes.

The Glooko cable is now part of my daily diabetes kit, IMG 2601

I can export the downloaded information from the Glooko app to email (CSV), eFax (really!!??), AirPrint or any app that supports the “Open in…” feature of iOS such as Dropbox, Box or iBooks (PDF). I think my favourite is going to be Dropbox. I’ll have access to my information from my Mac, iPhone, iPad or any computer with a web browser.

The Glooko cable is now part of my daily diabetes kit, IMG 2605

There is an opinions tab in the app. Click that and I’m taken to Glooko’s Facebook page. I guess they wanted some social media around their product but I won’t be using this feature.

To use the Glooko, I purchased a cable that was compatible with my brand and model of meter. The list of meters isn’t comprehensive but it does include the major brands and meter models. I have a LifeScan OneTouch Ultra mini and Abbot FreeStyle Flash so those are the meters with which I tested. I plugged one end of the cable into the data port on the meter and then plugged the other end — the one with the iPhone dock connector — into the iPhone. I had to go into Settings in the app to select the brand and model of meter I was using then back to the Home screen and tap the Sync button. I wish this step was automated. I wish the software could auto detect the meter type so I just plug in the cable and tap sync.

One the data is downloaded from the meter, I can add other information.

The setup isn’t pretty and I don’t like carrying around the cable but it works for now. The OneTouch strips are covered by insurance so my endocrinologist can send a prescription directly to my mail order pharmacy service which covers everything for a nominal c-o-pay. However, the Glooko can connect to the range of glucometers I already have and is inexpensive compared to buying a bunch of new meters. I always have multiple meters. I like to have a backup.

Before I decide on a long term solution I want to try the Contour USB. The Contour USB (and strips) are covered under my pharmacy benefit so my endocrinologist called in a prescription. Until I have that device and I have used it for awhile I’m sticking with the Glooko cable.