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Most of the products reviewed in this column over the past few months have come from glucose meter and insulin pump manufacturers and independent software companies. This month, we will take a look at an offering from one of the major insulin manufacturers: DiabetesWatch, a Web-based product from Aventis Pharmaceuticals.
The DiabetesWatch Web site is organized according to several areas of interest: Wellness Tools, Self-Care Journal and Resource Center.
Submit Questions, Share Information
“Wellness Tools” allows you to submit questions to diabetes specialists, store your favorite DiabetesWatch articles in your own library and build your own cookbook. In addition, you can share information and personal stories with other members of the DiabetesWatch community through chat rooms, discussion groups and e-mail.
The “Resource Center” offers several areas pertaining to diabetes education and information. There are links to diabetes articles on fitness, diet and nutrition and many other topics. One area called All About Diabetes answers questions like “What is diabetes?” and discusses managing blood glucose, short- and long-term complications, taking sick days from work and living with diabetes. It also has a section with questions to ask your healthcare provider and printable charts for keeping track of diabetes data. You can sign up for a monthly newsletter and get recipes, too. For people on Medicare, there is a link to an area where they can sign up for a prescription drug card.
I particularly liked the link to “Myths and Facts” about diabetes. I’d like some of my know-it-all family and friends to read this section!
Personalized Journal Helps You Keep Track of Data
I spent most of my time in the “Self-Care Journal” area. This is a personalized journal that can help you keep track of your diabetes information. You can record your daily blood glucose levels, A1C values and other details such as healthcare appointments and exercise routines. You can even assess your daily diet with the diet calculator. The journal keeps track of the following data: A1C, blood glucose, blood pressure, body weight, diet, doctor visits, exercise, insulin usage, ketones and medications. It also includes a reminder feature.
When you first register to use DiabetesWatch, you have to fill out a form with information about yourself and your diabetes. DiabetesWatch lets you revise this information at any time. You may change general settings, such as what time zone you reside in, or you can change your password or your personal profile data in the “More Options” area.
If you prefer a program that runs locally on your computer, you can download the Diabetes Toolbox software free of charge. The Diabetes Toolbox lets you choose the features you want when you download it. You can select features that track A1C, blood glucose and diet, and there’s also a refill-reminder option.
We have covered only the highlights of DiabetesWatch in this article. For more information, please visit www.diabeteswatch.com.
Will DiabetesWatch run on a Macintosh personal computer?
Yes; the program requires only a Web browser. I personally ran it on Windows and Linux.
Will DiabetesWatch download data from my blood glucose meter?
Is there any help available?
Yes. There is an area called More Options that gives you access to the help system.
If my computer crashes, will I lose all of my recorded information?
No. The information you have recorded will not be lost. DiabetesWatch is a Web-based program; your information is stored securely on an Internet server and not locally on your computer.
Diabetes Health is the essential resource for people living with diabetes- both newly diagnosed and experienced as well as the professionals who care for them. We provide balanced expert news and information on living healthfully with diabetes. Each issue includes cutting-edge editorial coverage of new products, research, treatment options, and meaningful lifestyle issues.