Why I Stopped Using My iBGStar

I’ve been on the iBGStar for nearly 2 years. For the most part I’ve been happy with that time. The size of the meter made packing and travel super convenient, and when I actually took the time to look at the data, the iOS software that synced readings was quite handy. However, the test strips were in my insurance’s most expensive coverage tier and I really, really miss having a port light. Being a creature of habit, however, means that I’m quite stubborn to change my ways even when there are plenty of reasonable justifications for switching.

Until this weekend.

Let me introduce you to “Er1”.

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Quantifying Myself

I’m only a couple of days into my FitBit experience and I’m already torn. I’m experiencing some technical issues with the FitBit Flex that are beyond the help of the user guide and the FitBit forum community. I’m currently in a back-and-forth with customer service that will likely end with me RMA-ing this unit for a new one. I’m not sure what went wrong, but I haven’t been using this thing long enough to be the primary culprit for whatever is going on here.

That said, I think there’s a tremendous potential with FitBit, when combined with the rest of my data gathering – both active and passive.

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Data-Induced Burnout

The topic of data was heavily featured in an upcoming episode of my podcast, Just Talking. We discussed the importance of data liberation, literacy, and eventual analysis of that data from both the patient and provider perspective. Things like Glooko are great because it eases the barrier to entry to that type of data aggregation and access. The idea is that if we have the tools to make meaningful changes to our diabetes management more readily available, then we are that much more likely to try and make those changes.

Of course you have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle a month’s worth of blood glucose data, but I think simply knowing that your data is waiting for you is an important first step.

But there’s got to be a downside to all of this stuff, right? What happens when we dig too deep into all of these numbers? What happens when the possibility of getting lost in the data becomes a reality?

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The Ongoing Struggle to Find a Home for this iBGStar

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of my iBGStar. The ability to quickly upload and (potentially) process all of your test data from the palm of your hand is an exciting prospect, assuming you can get over the data overload. This thing is just about everything I need in a meter, with the exception of the always-coveted port light. But I’ve managed to get by without it for the most part.

My bigget hurdle with long-term use is transport. I can’t get by having this thing constantly connected to my iPod Touch since it blocks the headphone jack whenever it is connected – thus defeating the purpose of having an iPod. This means that I only upload test results once or twice a week and keep the meter separate for the majority of the time. Up until a week ago I’ve kept my iBGStar in the same case as my old FreeStyle Lite. There was a spot for the vial of test strips and I was quite fond of the makeshift insulin pen “pockets” that the outer compartment formed – thus reducing clutter to a single item.

Despite this apparent convenience, I did have issues with this setup. Mostly because I couldn’t find a home for the previously mentioned FreeStyle meter. So the case was holding a meter not in use, a meter in use, a vial of test strips, a Delica, and anywhere from 0-49 used test strips. As you can imagine, things often got messy.

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Cheating the System

I’ve written before about obsessing over “the line” so much that it runs the risk of defeating the purpose of having technology like the Dexcom G4. What’s the point in cheating the system when you are the system?

I recently realized a spin-off to this problem that I’m sure is no surprise to any of you reading this, but it’s something that I hope to correct. If the first step is admitting you have a problem, hopefully these sentences will put me on the right path.

I intentionally don’t test my blood glucose when I know it’s “out of range” until my Dexcom receiver suggests a more “positive” reading.

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About Misfit Wearables

Sonny Vu, co-founder and CEO of Misfit Wearables is on the podcast this week talking about his work with AgaMatrix and the development of the iBGStar, the future of mHealth and his latest venture with Misfit Wearables: the Shine. We cover the creative inspirations behind the Shine, its success on Indiegogo, and we discuss some broader principles for designing wearable technology. Enjoy.

Follow Sonny on Twitter at @SonnyVu.

You can learn more about Misfit Wearables and the Shine at misfitwearables.com.

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