Contour USB (Continued)
A diaTribe favorite: easy export via PDF. Available formats include pie charts and bar charts, as well as "standard day" and "standard week" options.
One valuable Contour USB feature is that you can save/export the records as a PDF and email to anyone – it's easy to share with a family member, healthcare provider, or save elsewhere on your computer. You can choose which "reports" to share, such as a pie or bar graph showing above, below, and within-range results. My favorite reports are the "standard day" and "standard week," which standardizes your test results for one day or one week. This gives you a good visual of where most of your numbers regularly are at that time. In the day report, it shows morning, midday, and evening numbers; in one case, it was easy to see that I had a lot of mid-morning lows and more after-dinner elevation than I had realized. Additionally, it's helpful to spot consistent problem areas over a week, such as a high that occurs the same day each week or a recurring problem with lows after working out – especially helpful if you are not using a continuous glucose monitor.
Like we said, we're head over heels for the improvements that this meter is showing us – such as the lack of cords and ease of data analysis (an easy-on-the-eyes meter doesn't hurt as well – the device feels much like a consumer device). Of course, however, the Contour USB may not be right for everyone. Others, including Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal (read his review here), have pointed out various drawbacks to the meter, including limited battery life (those that do not download frequently may be surprised at the roughly two-week lifespan), somewhat dated strip technology (requires a 0.6 L blood sample, versus 0.3 L with newer meters), and a higher-end price tag ($75). Says diaTribe advisory board member Jane Seley, "The truth is, few patients care to download their meter – perhaps because of the hassle factor, but my guess is that the majority choose not to download because they have not been taught what to do with the information." Thus, you may need to decide how useful the improved downloading capability will be for you.
Improvements and recommendations:
- Lancet device is difficult for smaller hands and cumbersome to use
- Automatically kicks out the test if not enough blood – build in a few seconds to squeeze more blood/not waste a test strip
- Limited battery life if you do not download often
- USB recharge/upload (no more cords and no more buying batteries!)
- Ease of use of software, no need to download, and can be used on most computers and operating systems
- Test result fills entire screen before scaling down; number is orange if "low"
- Ability to mark before/after meal and also add notes like "stress" or "sick"
- Easy export via PDF
The Glucofacts Deluxe interface
Upon plugging the meter into your computer, readings are automatically downloaded. Specific readings can be easily marked to denote "before meal" or "after meal" testing, as well as other variations.
Dana Lewis and Kelly Close work at diaTribe, an independent, advertising-free e-newsletter for everyone eager to learn about the latest advances in diabetes management. diaTribe is your inside track on diabetes research and products – sign up here for your complimentary lifetime subscription!
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical 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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As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...