A Lingering Doubt

I know I spent over one thousand words mostly raving about the iBGStar last week. I stand by my enthusiasm for both that device and as I stated, what it means for the future of innovation in diabetes management. There was one specific aspect about making this change that I didn’t touch on – mostly because it hadn’t sunk in until I ran out of test strips.

You see, I started with just 50 BGStar strips. Once I got down to 20 left I contacted my endocrinologist for a big-boy prescription. But there was going to be a delay between mailing the prescription, getting it processed, and getting my 90-day supply back. This means that I’m back on my FreeStyle test strips until my new supply arrives. All of this makes perfectly logical sense, except for this: I felt more comfortable with the results my FreeStyle Lite produced.

Part of this must be familiarity. I’ve been using the Lite for almost five years. I know that there’s an “acceptable range of accuracy” with these meters and strips, but I had come to trust my meter and what it had to say. When I first started using the iBGStar I had to get over the lingering doubt of “is this really what my blood glucose is?” And this lingering doubt remained for almost half of those test strips. All of a sudden I was second guessing everything I was told.

Whatever my meter says is what my Dexcom is calibrated against. My meter influences how much insulin I need to take to correct an high reading or how aggressive I should be about correcting a low. If the data you base all of your daily medical decisions upon is flawed, or merely doubted, the rest of your diabetes management will suffer. And that sucks.

As Dexcom’s G4 arrives across the country, people with diabetes will have to redevelop that comfort, the sense of reliability, and that trust with a new piece of technology. Because all of scientific studies and anecdotal blog posts don’t mean a thing if I can’t trust what I’m told.

I think I bounced all over the place with this one, but I think this is my point. All of this new stuff is great after you get over the lingering doubt over whether or not you can trust the numbers. And the fact that trust has to be earned, the fact that accuracy is not an immediate given, is not the way to build a relationship (with a medical device).

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