Introduction

In our society, diabetes is one of the most common disease states and occurs because of inadequate insulin production or the inability of the body’s cells to respond to the insulin. A blood glucose meter, an electronic device, is often used for measuring the blood glucose level. A relatively small drop of blood is placed on a disposable test strip that interfaces with a digital meter. Within several seconds, the level of blood glucose will be shown on the digital display.

Background

Until the mid-1970s, patients with diabetes who sought to determine the percentage of glucose in the blood were able to do so only through using sticks or tablets to test urine. Since then it has been far more convenient and efficient for patients with diabetes to test their blood glucose levels using blood glucose meters. Although small, these meters are extremely intricate machines, and manufacturers have to continuously update these machines due to the competitive market.

Issue

What should diabetes patients look for when purchasing a blood glucose meter?

Rule

When purchasing a blood glucose meter, patients should look for:

1.         Blood sample size needed to perform the test

2.         Size of the meter

3.         Whether the meter reads blood glucose or plasma glucose

4.         How much memory the blood glucose meter holds

5.         Appearance

6.         Cost of the meter and its strips

Analysis

Each blood glucose meter requires a different blood sample size in order to test a patient’s blood glucose level. Diabetes patients are more likely to buy a blood glucose meter that does not require them to give a lot of blood; therefore, the smaller the blood sample size the better.

Most diabetes patients have to test their blood glucose level on a daily basis. Every day issues make it inconvenient to always go home to test their blood glucose levels. It is important to search for a blood glucose meter that is small and compact so people can test their blood glucose outside of their homes.

An important factor when purchasing a blood glucose meter is whether the meter reads blood glucose or plasma glucose. Even though all home meters are designed to measure blood glucose, the newer meters convert the results into plasma results. If your meter is not calibrated for plasma glucose, you must do a simple conversion to compare your results with lab results. Although the older meters that do not do the conversion for you are cheaper, it is more efficient to buy the more expensive meter to save time and avoid calculation errors.

Another factor a patient should look for is how easy the blood glucose meter is to use. Most meters are complicated, so it is important that patients obtain training in meter use from a certified diabetes educator (CDE). The CDE should demonstrate how to use the meter and have the patient use the meter under their supervision.

Depending how bad their disease is, many patients have to test themselves several times a day. Therefore, it is important that they purchase a blood glucose meter that holds a sufficient amount of memory.

Just like any other product, appearance is always a key selling point. Some patients do not like to endorse that they are using a blood glucose meter, so they might want a meter that is styled not to appear as a blood glucose meter.

The last, and to some the most important, factor when purchasing a blood glucose meter is the cost of the meter and its strips. The cost of a meter may influence your buying decision and if you do not get your strips on prescription, the price of your strips may affect the decision further.

Conclusion

There are many factors a diabetes patient must look into before buying a blood glucose meter. How much blood is needed to perform the test, the size of the meter, whether the meter measures blood glucose or plasma glucose, how much memory the blood glucose meter holds, the appearance of the meter, and how much the meter costs are all influential elements that may persuade the patient in their decision.

For more information on this issue, contact the Kulkarni Law Firm.