I was lucky enough to be invited by Sanofi to the press launch of their new meter, the MyStar ExtraTM. It’s the latest in the MyStarTM Range. It monitors blood glucose levels as do other BG meters, but it also estimates A1c of the person using it.
I was not funded in any way by Sanofi to attend the press conference. I received the press pack in paper copy and on a branded memory stick. I have kept the memory stick.
Sanofi did not ask me to blog about this device, I am doing it because I want to share about it.
The views stated in this blog are my own, not that of Sanofi or anyone else. They are also my understanding of the information received and are not to be taken as clinical advice.
I am not promoting or recommending this device, just trying to share information for people to make their own conclusions.
Ok. So that’s longer than most of my usual blogs are in total, and if any one made it through that without falling asleep I’m amazed!
Anyway. So, I get invited to this press conference for this new meter that will be available in the UK in 2014. I, like many people with Diabetes like new kit, especially meters. Always good to check out a new one, see what features it has and if I can use them to better help me to manage my Diabetes. For these reasons I accepted the invitation.
As an eternal cynic and Grumpy old sod (I know, big shock there) I was expecting a hard sell to a room full of health care professional by a marketing executive on how this meter was going to help them hit every “target” for their patients and enable them to “gain good control” of their Diabetes. By the way, I have put these words and phrases in “” as I have no idea how to portray the utter contempt for such wording in a blog. I hate demotivating language when it comes to mine and others Diabetes. I use Manage, not control. I can no more control my Diabetes than I can control the tide of the sea, but I can manage how wet I get. Basically, I can’t control the tide, but I can monitor what it is doing and use that information to keep a safe distance. The same for me with my Diabetes and blood glucose monitoring.
Given all of these Grumpy pre conceived assumptions I took my seat and waited for the onslaught. However after the introductions this guy stands up and starts talking about how this meter could be used to help motivate PWD’s to reduce their A1c. He talked about personal, achievable goals, not “targets”, used the word manage not “control”, and the reason for lowing A1c? To keep yourself safe! No mention for complications or scare tactics. This woke me right up. The guy was talking my language. It reassures me that whilst I have a long way to go in my quest to educate health care professionals that Diabetes is as individual as the person that has it, there are others out there of the same mind, trying to do the same thing.
This guy’s name is Dr William Polonsky and he is founder of the Behavioural Diabetes Institute.
The reason I mention all of this? Well, In my opinion, any meter or the data from it can be used to motivate me to manage my Diabetes to the best of my ability. But for me the heath care professional need to understand my motivation as well. If they don’t and they use the wrong language then it can have the opposite affect.
What about the meter then? Like I said it’s the next in the Sanofi family of the Star range. It is not an upgrade of the iBGStarTM and does not fit into your iPhone. One big plus point for me is that it uses the same test strips. Since I have strips for the other meters in the family it means I can get hold of this one when it’s available and test it without having to mess about with prescription changes etc. I don’t always end up using a new meter as my main one so not having to get new strip types means I am more likely to fully test it instead of running out of the few strips provided and then chucking it into a cupboard.
I like the look and feel of the meter, it’s compact but not too small. Clear black and white LCD display and easy to use so no issues there. It checks blood glucose like it should. Ranges can also be set.
The new feature is the estimated A1c. Now, this worried me straight off to be honest. I again made assumption that it would just work it out from average BG levels, and as a result a lot of testing during a hypo for example could skew the A1c estimation. However having heard the description of how the estimation is calculated its no longer something I’m concerned about.
There is a lot of maths involved in the way it’s worked out so I will give my understanding of how it works. On the meter you can tag a fasting blood glucose. So typically my first check of the day would be a fasting one. It then takes that reading as a baseline and then uses the reading through the day as well. As far as I understood it, the meter will cater for a lot of checks in a close time period and not allow those to skew the average. So if I did 6 checks in a hour due to a hypo, it would take this into account. From that data it uses an algorithm to estimate A1c value. A1c trends over time are displayed on the meter as well.
There were some statistics on the accuracy of the estimation and they looked good. Of course the only way I will be convinced of that will be to use the meter for a 3 month period and then compare
It to my clinical A1c test from the hospital. I don’t expect it to be spot on since its an estimation, but if it’s close and importantly consistent over time then I personally will find this meter to be a great tool in my armoury for managing my Diabetes. If it isn’t, then it most likely will bet retired to the ever growing pile of unused kit I have.
I will definitely be getting hold of one as soon as I can to give it a try. The meter will come with a new lancet device as well called the MyStar SylkFeelTM
That’s probably the most sensible blog I’ve ever written. Apologies to those who expected my usual writing. Normal childish behaviour will resume shortly.