Resources for Evaluating Meters

Where can you go for reliable comparative evaluations?

| Nov 1, 2005

We have so many blood glucose meters to choose from that it’s hard to know which one to use. I count 43 home meters for sale in the United States right now.

With so many choices, where can you go for reliable comparative evaluations?


The most professional group that evaluates meters, DirecNet is not as well known as it deserves to be.

According to William V. Tamborlane, MD, DirecNet’s mission is to do studies that advance the therapy of children with type 1. Tamborlane, who is a professor of pediatric endocrinology at the Yale School of Medicine, says that DirecNet has concentrated most of its research on continuous sensors because they are such an important breakthrough in diabetes management. However, DirecNet also reviews regular meters.

In an article appearing in the October 2005 Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, DirecNet compared the accuracy of the OneTouch Ultra with that of Abbott’s FreeStyle Flash. Their conclusion: Both meters are highly accurate over a broad range of glucose levels.

DirecNet evaluates accuracy but not precision.

“We do not have formal data on precision,” says Roy Beck, MD, executive director of Jaeb Center for Health Research in Tampa, Florida. “But we have been impressed with their consistency.”

The DirecNet team is also starting to study the Guardian RT and the forthcoming Abbott Navigator meters. Both are continuous sensors. Stay tuned.

Consumer Reports

Another group that evaluates blood glucose meters is Consumer Reports, which tests a few meters from time to time. Most recently, in its August 2005 issue, their lab tested 13 meters for “consistency”—technically called “precision”—and for accuracy. That article states that consistency is more important than accuracy, a point with which I agree.

Consumer Reports rated no meters “excellent” for consistency, but eight meters were considered very good: LifeScan’s OneTouch UltraSmart and OneTouch Ultra, Accu-Chek’s Complete and Compact, Abbott’s FreeStyle and FreeStyle Flash, Bayer’s Ascensia Contour and Becton-Dickinson’s Logic.

DirecNet is the Diabetes Research in Children Network, consisting of five clinical centers and one data-coordinating center. The clinical centers are the pediatric departments at

  • Yale University
  • Stanford University
  • University of Iowa
  • The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes in Denver
  • The Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida

The data-coordinating center for DirecNet is the Jaeb Center for Health Research in Tampa, Florida, where Roy Beck, MD, is the executive director.

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