The Telcare BGM wireless monitor is the type of product that rarely comes along and makes you think differently about the status quo. There are dozens of monitors on the market with most of them seemingly on a race to the bottom to see how cheaply they can make the glucose meter.
The Telcare meter is not cheap, but it does provide three unique aspects. First, the BGM allows you to wirelessly transfer your results to a data management solution, using cellular technology. When you test your glucose levels, the results are sent via a cellular transmission (just like your cell phone calls) to the management software. Second, the meter now can wirelessly transfer to a new mobile app, so you can track your results from your smartphone. Amazing Stuff!
Third, the data management software is completely online. No downloads to your computer, no upgrades to perform, Telcare takes care of everything with a seamless online portal.
Let’s look at how this works a little further below.
- Wireless Data Transfer: While there are glucose monitor that allow you to download your data results wirelessly, there are no meters that do this using cellular technology. Even when you are traveling, your testing results get transferred to your online management software automatically.
- Online Solution: Most companies have a data management solution to track your testing results. Very few companies offer an online solution. This means that as long as you have an Internet connection you can upload and track your results. The nice aspect of this is that you do not need your own computer to do this. I could visit a friend in another state and use his computer to check the results. I would not need to lug my own computer with me.
- Ease of Use: This is a no code meter. Also, you simply test your blood and the meter does the rest. It gives you the result and then automatically uploads the results to the tracking software online.
- Data Sharing: The online software also has advanced data sharing, which allows your doctor to view and comment on your results. One of the business goals of the company is to get entire medical practices using the software so a doctor can really maximize the standards of care, by tracking and communicating with its patients.
- Mobile App: In May 2012, Telcare added a mobile application that is both PC and MAC compatible. If you use the Telcare BGM, you can synch your results with your smartphone. You can then track and manipulate the data results. Even if you do not have the Telcare BGM, you can get the app and manually enter your data results. And, it is free! Great job by Telcare. You can learn more about the app at the iTunes store, Telcare Mobile App.
- Cost: This meter is not inexpensive. As of February 2012, Telcare wants you to buy the meter and sign a contract to purchase test strips from them for one year. Under the terms of the contract, you must buy 4 boxes of 50 test strips, each quarter, thus 16 boxes a year. The meter would run you approximately $100 plus $35 for each box of test strips. If you do not sign the contract, the meter is approximately $150 and each box cost $56. Also, like your cell phone, if you want damage or loss protection for the meter, you will pay another $6.95 per month. You do not pay any cell phone charges for transmitting the data to Telcare.
- Portability: Since your glucose results are stored online, if you wanted to switch meter companies, the main way you can take your data is through a bare bones csv file. Alternatively, you can use Microsoft health vault, but I am not familiar with this application. Why is this important?
Despite all of these great advantages, there had to be some disadvantages, right?
Well, what if you wanted to use a less expensive meter or a different meter comes out from another company that has some functionality you want to use. With Telcare having control of your data, you have a few hoops to jump through to keep the historical results on your own computer. Maybe this is an issue for you maybe it isn’t.
The Telcare BGM uses its own proprietary test strips. You can purchase the strips at their website or Amazon.com
If you are looking for inexpensive glucose monitoring, this isn’t it. However, if you want complete simplicity with an online AND Mobile data management solution, the Telcare BGM is arguably the best choice on the market today and a truly unique product.
Normally, in this section of the review I discuss the data management software. However, I think we have covered this above extensively. Since I have not done a company review of Telcare, let me make a few comments here.
Telcare is a fairly recent start up. The Telcare BGM is the company’s first product. Dr. Jonathon Javitt, a serial entrepreneur in the medical industry, founded the company. They have an accomplished advisory board and a helpful website.
My one criticism is that they do not include a lot of technical information about the BGM. I had to check FDA records, and converse with customer service to get very basic operating information about the meter.
It seems that the company wants to “dumb it down” when it comes to presenting the product. For some users this is great. For other users, like me, we would want a little more substance to the product description.
|Auto. Shut Off||No|
|Battery Life||3 year|
|Alternative Site Testing||Yes|
|Memory Capacity||300 Tests|
|Storage Temp.||Not Listed|
|Operating Temp.||40° - 104° F|
|Result Range||20 to 600 mg/dL|
|Sample Size||0.8 microliter|
|Test Time||6 seconds|
|Weight (battery)||4.1 oz. (yes)|
|Size (Inches)||3.94" x 2.36 x 0.59|