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.

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4 responses on “The Glooko cable is now part of my daily diabetes kit”

  1.  @Tracy DeMiroz , thanks for the tip about the Excel chart.   Too bad I can’t obtain it. I work for a bioharma company so I understand all to well the FDA’s role in all of this.
     
    I’m just looking for a way to reduce the amount of effort. If I’m sitting in from of my iPhone manually entering nutritional information and insulin dosage I might as well just enter meter values, too.  In that scenario the Glooko cables doesn’t add much value.

  2. Khurt,
    Yes, charting and graphing is definitely on our product roadmap.  We understand how important it is for people with diabetes and their healthcare professional.
     
    We do have plans underway to integrate charting and graphing into Glooko products. Until those products are available, we offer a customized Microsoft® Excel spreadsheet called Glooko Logbook Charts, which can be downloaded in the European Union for free from our website:  http://glooko.com/en/product/logbook/.  With Charts, you can quickly discover patterns at a glance by viewing blood glucose readings in three charts: by time of day, by date, and by analysis by time of day.
     
    As background, the Glooko MeterSync Cable and Glooko Logbook app are classified as Class 1 Medical Device Data System (MDDS) according to the FDA device classification rules.  Due to the limitation of this classification, we can only transfer the data from your meter to our app, and the data (your meter readings) cannot be graphed by our products.
     
    Our plans to provide charting and graphing must comply with each country’s specific health regulations where our products are distributed.
     
    –On 6/27/12 in the  European Union, we released, Glooko Logbook Charts.  Currently, only people in the EU can download Glooko Logbook Charts.
    –We have submitted Glooko Logbook Charts to the FDA  and as soon as it’s cleared we will make it available in the US.
     
    Thanks,
    Tracy
     

  3.  @Tracy DeMiroz I generally prefer having the BG reading, insulin, and food information entered as a single data unit.  Often I’ll test my BG 10-15 minutes before eating.
     
    Like you suggested, I could adjust dates/times later but then … what’s the point of Glooko if I’m manually entering information?  I test my BG 5-6 times a day.  I really don’t want to spend any more time scrolling and adjust 5-6 separate entries.
     
    Any chance that I’ll see charting added soon?  For me, that’s the real value of downloading the data.  I know some people export the CSV into Excel and then chart there but … I already spend so much of my time testing, injecting, carb counting I really want to spend less time thinking about diabetes.

  4. Khurt,
    Thanks so much for the review, and thanks for making the Glooko MeterSync Cable part of your daily diabetes kit.  We appreciate your support and your feedback.
     
    A couple notes:
    –If you do decide to move to the ACCU-CHEK Nano, we are compatible and have a Glooko IR Adapter to transfer the meter data via infrared into Glooko Logbook.
     
    –Glad to hear that you think Dropbox & Glooko will be a good combo for you.  It’s our goal to make Logbook as accessible and shareable as possible.  
     
    — Auto-detecting a meter before you sync is a good idea, and we would have done this if we could get a predictable signature from every meter.
     
    –I would love to get your specific feedback about UI / UX.  Please feel free to give me a call – 650.888.3992.  We’re always looking for ways to improve. 
     
    –Lastly, I just wanted to make sure I was reading your user experience correctly.  The app was designed so you can take asynchronous notes – record carbs, meds, wellness factors and notes when they happen on your iPhone that’s always with you.  Later when you sync you meter with Logbook, the notes and readings will be in chronological order.  The Glooko MeterSync Cable does not always need to be with you, but, of course, everyone has different approaches.
     
    Rather than having to sync after every blood glucose reading, or rely on your memory to fill in the blanks at the end of the day, we designed the app with the intention of individuals adding “asynchronous” notes.  Also wanted to let you know that from the “Add a Note” screen, you can click on the date and time bar in order to change the time to correlate directly with the time of your blood glucose readings, so that later when you do sync your meter-these notes and readings will align as they would have if you had added the note after the sync. 
     
    Please let me know if the above was confusing, or you already knew and I misread your user experience.
    Best,
    Tracy
     

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