US Pharmacist. 2002;27(11) 

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Memory and Data Manipulation

Most blood glucose meters have the capacity to store previous readings (along with the time and date); the volume of storage varies with the specific meter.[6] Some only store 20 to 100 results (e.g., Glucometer Elite, Accu-Chek Advantage, Glucometer Dex 2), while others store as many as 1,000 (e.g., Accu-Chek Complete). Most meters have download capabilities that allow the patient to transfer readings directly to a home computer, keeping them in a logbook. The patient may be required to purchase a cable to allow the meter/home computer interface to be made, and may also need to download software from the meter manufacturer's website (e.g., Win Glucofacts Diabetes Management Software for the Glucometer Dex, Glucometer Dex 2, Glucometer Elite XL) to accomplish data transfer and facilitate data manipulation. Patients can then calculate 14- and 30-day averages and averages of all readings at a specific reading time (e.g., 6:00 am, 12:00 noon, 6:00 pm or 9:00 pm). A few meters (e.g., Glucometer Elite) lack data port features and diabetes management software integration.

The ideal meter should have batteries that are readily available and easy to replace. Most meters now require two common alkaline batteries of AA or AAA size (e.g., One Touch SureStep; Accu-Chek Advantage, Complete and Compact). However, the Glucometer Dex 2 uses two lithium watch batteries (CR 2016) that may be more difficult to locate when the patient is in a hurry, as might the two AAAA batteries required by the Free Style. The pharmacist should urge the patient to purchase extra batteries before they are needed. Most meters provide 700-1,000 tests per set of new batteries.

Some patients are directed by the physician to test ketones. Urine ketone test strips were the only alternative for many years. However, the Precision Xtra meter has dual testing capabilities. Each package of 100 blood glucose strips includes four blood ketone strips, along with calibration strips for glucose and ketones.

A meter with a built-in lancet would allow the diabetic to test blood glucose without the need to carry a separate lancet device and needles. The Checkmate Plus Meter is a device with this feature. To operate it, the patient opens a door on the pen-like meter and cocks the device by exerting approximately 4.5 pounds of pressure, which may present some difficulty for a young child. The finger is placed over a finger bowl and the device is triggered. Blood is applied to a wick on the test strip, and the results are read in 60 seconds. The device stores 225 blood glucose readings.

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