Testing Without an iPhone/iPod Touch
As previously mentioned, the iBGStar also works as a standalone meter when it's not plugged into an iPhone or iPod touch. Testing in this way is akin to using a standard blood glucose meter: insert the strip, apply blood, wait for the countdown, view the result on the meter's screen. The iBGStar as a standalone meter can store up to 300 results, which are automatically uploaded to the Diabetes Manager App the next time it is plugged into an iPhone or iPod touch.
The compact size of iBGStar was what immediately stood out when testing without an Apple device. This is easily the smallest meter I've ever used (2.2 in x 0.9 in x 0.4 in), and I appreciated that it looks like a high-tech consumer electronic rather than a more utilitarian medical device. The iBGStar also comes with a small cover/clip that hooks on to the built-in dock connecter, a nice way to avoid carrying the clunkier, all-in-one zipper case (though the case is definitely smaller than a typical blood glucose monitoring case). The meter's battery charges when plugged into the iPhone or iPod touch or through a micro-USB port on the bottom of the device. The downside to using the iBGStar as a standalone meter is the screen. The font is quite small and the backlight is low — this device was really designed to be used with an iPhone or iPod touch, and the standalone feature seems more for convenience rather than optimal use. We understand this also helped for regulatory purposes. I did not find that the iBGStar unacceptably drained iPhone or iPod touch battery life. The meter uses BGStar strips, which based on the data reported to FDA, are comparable in accuracy to other new strips and meters we've recently tested. The iBGStar strips' sample window and blood drawing action were not quite as impressive as the new OneTouch Verio strips or the FreeStyle Lite strips — those are great! — but I did not find it significantly worse.
Pricing and Where to Get iBGStar
You can get iBGStar at Walgreens and at Walgreens.com ($74.99 and includes 10 test strips), at Apple retail stores (!) and at Apple.com ($99.95 and includes 50 test strips), and through Diabetic Care Services & Pharmacy ($71.99 and includes 10 test strips). If you prefer to get iBGStar at your local non-Walgreens pharmacy, they can also probably get it for you but it depends on their distributors. The BGStar strips are priced similarly to other major strip brands (Walgreens.com retail price of $64.99 for 50 strips). Notably, Sanofi is offering a co-pay savings program to limit out-of-pocket expenses to no more than $20 per purchase for one year, though certain restrictions may apply.
A New Era of Blood Glucose Monitoring?
In thinking about the three new meters we recently reviewed and now Sanofi's iBGStar, it's refreshing to see a healthy level of competition and innovation in blood glucose monitoring. For too long the data have often been hard to download, analyze, contextualize, and visualize, especially for on-the-go decision-making. In my view, this is one place where recent meters have made important strides. Managing diabetes is unquestionably challenging and frustrating, but it's made even worse when the data we laboriously collect do nothing to ease the burden. I have no doubt that this is changing for the better.
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NOTE: This information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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