iBGStar: The ‘iPhone blood glucose meter’

OTCs Today

For patients with diabetes who own or are looking to buy an iPhone or iPod Touch, a blood glucose meter is now available that is compatible with these devices. Pharmacists who haven’t already should expect to receive questions about iBGStar—the new “iPhone meter.”

iBGStar features

Created by Sanofi and cleared by FDA in December 2011, iBGStar is the first blood glucose meter that connects directly to an iPhone or iPod Touch.1,2 The device automatically syncs with the iOS Diabetes Manager app, thereby giving users ready access to data on their mobile device. Although the iBGStar can stay attached to an iPhone/iPod Touch, the meter can also be used independently.1

The meter contains a rechargeable battery, requires a 0.5-mL blood sample, does not require coding, and provides blood glucose readings in approximately 6 seconds. To use the iBGStar monitoring system, a patient’s mobile device must have at least 30 MB of available space and have installed iOS version 4.0 or higher and the iBGStar Diabetes Manager app version 2.0 or higher.1

iBGStar Diabetes Manager app

Although the Diabetes Manager app is not included with the iBGStar, patients are prompted to download it at no charge the first time they connect the meter to their iPhone/iPod Touch.1 The app can also be downloaded through the iTunes store.3 When readings are taken while the iBGStar is connected to an iPhone/iPod Touch, data are automatically synced with the Diabetes Manager app. If readings are taken while the meter is disconnected, the results will automatically upload to the device the next time iBGStar is connected.

The app tracks glucose readings and user input carbohydrate and insulin information. Patients are able to tag readings in relation to meals, manually add readings if necessary, and input personalized notes. Data can be viewed in various formats. With the “share” feature, patients can e-mail data to health professionals, family, or friends by simply tapping the share icon, entering an e-mail address, and selecting send.1 Of note, results are not uploaded to iCloud because of concerns related to HIPAA.

Where to buy iBGStar

iBGStar can be purchased at Walgreens and Apple retail stores nationwide or online at www.apple.com, www.walgreens.com, or www.diabeticcareservices.com.1 As of June 2012, iBGStar was priced at $99.95 on the Apple website and $74.99 on the Walgreens site.4,5 Test strips cost a little more than $1 per strip, which is double the cost of some competitor strips.6 However, the Star Savings copay program is available, allowing patients to pay a maximum of $20 each time they buy 50 or 100 iBGStar test strips. Patients can register for the Star Savings program at www.iBGStar.us/co-pay.aspx.1

Diabetes apps

For tech-savvy patients with a smartphone that is not an Apple device, several apps are available to assist in diabetes management.7 These apps, which range from free to about $12, have features including logging (e.g., glucose, carbohydrates, exercise), diabetes-friendly recipes, nutritional information, reminders to take medications and/or check blood glucose, and finding nearby restaurants with meal options suitable for patients with diabetes. Although mobile technology isn’t for everyone, many individuals can benefit from the numerous advantages that technology provides. Pharmacists are likely to be the first health professionals to be questioned by patients about the use of these new devices and technologies.

References

  1. Sanofi. iBGStar. Accessed at www.ibgstar.us, June 12, 2012.
  2. Food and Drug Administration. Medical devices: December 2011 510(k) clearances. Accessed at www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/DeviceApprovals…, June 12, 2012.
  3. Apple. iTunes. Accessed at www.apple.com, June 12, 2012.
  4. Apple. Apple Store. Accessed at http://store.apple.com/us, June 12, 2012.
  5. Walgreens. IBGSTAR Blood Glucose Monitoring System. Accessed at www.walgreens.com/store/c/ibgstar-blood-glucose-monitoring-system/ID=pr…, June 12, 2012.
  6. Husain I. Why doctors should consider prescribing the iPhone iBGStar Blood Glucose peripheral. Accessed at www.imedicalapps.com/2012/05/doctors-prescribing-iphone-ibgstar-blood-g…, June 12, 2012.
  7. Neithercott T. 2012 diabetes software apps. Accessed at http://forecast.diabetes.org/magazine/features/2012-diabetes-software-a…, June 12, 2012.