Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists

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Glucometers: How educators and patients choose

May 26, 2015

Why am I thinking about glucometers? Well, first, I was thinking about the upcoming Annual Meeting in San Antonio, and I realized the immense array of booths and vendors which will be present. I got excited thinking about the new “gadgets” which might make an appearance. I then started thinking about glucometers our patients use and the influence we have on the selection. Patients often come in requesting a prescription for the new slick, colorful, quick, reliable glucometer.

I will be honest...I do have my favorites. Then there are the ones I cringe at the mere mention or sight of them. I try not to be biased, but it's difficult when I know about glucometers that provide inaccurate readings and thus place individuals' lives at risk. Then there the many glucometers left by sales representatives in the clinic. I often feel bad accepting them knowing I won't give them to patients. I am also embarrassed to say I don't even know how much glucometers or the supplies cost but I do know some patients limit the testing due to the cost of the reagent strips.

Glucometer selection is a very important part of diabetes management and many factors need to be taken into account to accommodate the limitations often imposed by complications associated with diabetes. When helping patients select a glucometer, the first thing I take into consideration is the reputation and safety of the unit. Then, I assess for sight and manual dexterity issues. The sight limitation is easy to address, but I often have trouble addressing manual dexterity issues. I wonder if anyone has a solution for this one.

Also, I don't encourage alternate site testing due the the lag time and in fact discourage patients from using it when they inquire about it. How about you? Do you have an opinion about this?

How many of you are involved in glucometer selection for patients, and what is the process you use to match the patient with the glucometer?

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