Accuracy of Your Meter and Strips

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2014-07-15 07:14:28 -0500
Started 2014-07-03 07:57:17 -0500

This is a topic that comes up a lot and now there is finally something going on to help weed out the companies that produce inferior products.

Products have to prove their accuracy to the FDA prior to approval, but after that approval, it's left to the companies to "self govern" and in things like this, it's so hard to really tell if products have the accuracy we need.

The "Strip Safely" folks have gotten a surveillance program going where after approval products will be watched and noted. This will be reported to a board that consists of experts in blood glucose monitoring, diabetes, and laboratory methods from academia, medical practice, government, industry, and medical organizations.

It is funded by Abbot (which makes my paranoid mind worry a bit) but hopefully it will be able to give us a better guide for what products maintain their accuracy and which ones don't.

Here is the article

Diabetes Technology Society Announces Launch of Surveillance Program for Blood Glucose Monitors
On May 20, the Diabetes Technology Society (DTS) announced the launch of a post-market blood glucose monitoring surveillance program, which will aim to assess and monitor the accuracy of meters and strips after they are approved. As we outlined last year, test strips and monitors are currently only tested for accuracy prior to FDA approval, and companies can self-report their own data. The DTS surveillance program plans to setup independent, third-party centers to routinely test the accuracy of meters and strips after they are out on the market. With initial funding from Abbott, a Steering Committee will meet next month in Washington DC to begin hammering out the program’s details. The committee consists of world-class experts in blood glucose monitoring, diabetes, and laboratory methods from academia, medical practice, government, industry, and medical organizations.

We were encouraged to hear that patient advocacy group(s) will be represented in a future Advisory Board that will be established soon. Ultimately, DTS hopes to publish the accuracy data to inform patients, payers, and regulators like the FDA about which products meet or fail accuracy standards. Hopefully, this effort will increase transparency, raise the level of conversation around test strip accuracy, and drive inaccurate products off the market. Particularly now that competitive bidding can prioritize affordability over accuracy in blood glucose monitoring (read more about its effect on test strips and meters here), it is imperative that DTS and other diabetes advocates are pushing to create a safer, more accountable system for determining the accuracy of meters and strips. –AJW

52 replies

kayisT2 2014-07-14 10:28:30 -0500 Report

I prick on the side of my fingers (never thumb or forefinger because we use them a lot and we feel the pain of the prick).

GabbyPA 2014-07-15 07:14:28 -0500 Report

My pinky and thumbs are the best for me. I use the sides too. No tips at all, except when I go to the doctor. They smack me right on the index finger tip.

Mrs Atkins
Mrs Atkins 2014-07-10 15:49:00 -0500 Report

Hubby and I both use ReliOn, the Walmart brand. Seems to be doing fine, but what do I know. I was diagnosed last Oct as T2 and my Dr. wanted me to test every morning when I got up. We went to the pharmacy at Walmart and he suggested ReliOn. Seeing the price difference in strips was a bit of an eye-opener. My numbers on average are in the low 3 digits. In the beginning I tried so many dif fingers and got so many dif reading that would range from 139-114. That was confusing as well. Ended up sticking the finger that gives me the most reliable consistent #s. Now that we have ins, I may look into other brands. Just not sure where to start.

Chopstix 2014-07-10 23:41:54 -0500 Report

Where about on your fingers do you prick? The tip or the side? I have found the side to be a whole lot less painful. Plus I don't have to go as deep and bleed easier…

Mrs Atkins
Mrs Atkins 2014-07-11 10:03:07 -0500 Report

I too have found the sides to be better. I use my left thumb for pricking. When I started the pricking I was on the second depth of the lancet device. Lately I have had to move to the 3rd (deeper) level. But having a large yard to care for, and going bare handed probably has something to do w/ that.

DrJohn 2014-07-10 07:40:58 -0500 Report

I did a limited study of meters and test strips. I found the Freestyle Lite to be the most accurate.

By the way, NO meters or test strips are FDA approved for clinical use. Hospitals are using them illegally.


GabbyPA 2014-07-10 17:00:08 -0500 Report

That is interesting. Is that why the meter at the hospital is a huge monster thing. Like no meter I have ever seen.

DrJohn 2014-07-10 18:05:55 -0500 Report

The meter at the hospital is huge because it is bluetooth connected to the hospital system.

GabbyPA 2014-07-13 20:03:57 -0500 Report

hmmm, don't know. It's like the old mobile phones from the 80's. No antenna or sharing with the computer, she still writes it down. I think they are just something different.

Gripper907 2014-07-07 17:47:51 -0500 Report

Thanks Gabby, this is good news. I too have been skeptical about meter readings at times. However I have two other meters that I use to check the validity of my main meter. Also there are several factors that will affect meter readings, such as water , rubbing alcohol if not properly dried and batch of test strips. But I also realize that this reading is an approximation and will vary a little even for same meter. The variation should be within acceptable range. For me I think a 10 point variation is fine.
At my doctors office I will make them retake the test if the reading is more than I read at home. Sometime I take my meter along to prove a point . I'm doing all the right things such as eating health and exercising five days a week.
I believe we have to be vigilant about we are treated when hospitalized and speak up when you feel another meter or reading should be used if you suspect error.
Stripsafety is an idea that is long overdue.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-07-03 21:52:54 -0500 Report

Thank You Gabby: You are an inspiration for me. You can always find the best information for what we all need to read.

GabbyPA 2014-07-04 09:13:07 -0500 Report

You are too kind. I really look forward to my DiaTribe newsletters. That is where I find so much great stuff. I am glad you enjoy what I share.

4mouseketeers 2014-07-03 19:28:39 -0500 Report

Are meters or test strips supposed to come with some kind of control or test solution? Mine did not.

haoleboy 2014-07-04 09:50:33 -0500 Report

Test solution is often provided free by the manufacturer. I know that for ReliOn meters you can request the test solution online

Chuck Fisher
Chuck Fisher 2014-07-03 15:31:39 -0500 Report

Home blood glucose meters are designed to use capillary blood, not veinous blood.

When switching to a new lot of strips, I will test with both old and new lots three different times, using the same puncture each time. My most recent lot change indicated a 10 point increase between lots. I notified my doctor so she wouldn't be to concerned to see a "jump" in readings.

If you get a reading that is much higher or lower than you expect, I would suggest to immediately retest. In the past I have found some strips were apparently defective (less than 5%).

When I was hospitalized last year (unrelated to DM), my BG was "low" and they were going to give me glucose. I said to test a second time and this time the value was "normal". You should have seen the look on the nurses faces.

GabbyPA 2014-07-04 09:15:31 -0500 Report

I always test again when I get a reading I think is not right. There are so many variables in testing, so a second test is good, and if I still think it's off, I test a third time and make an average.

rolly123 2014-07-11 20:49:26 -0500 Report

Gabby in my left hand when test is different from my right hand is that possible when I do it I get different reading right is higher then left

evaziem 2014-07-03 16:01:23 -0500 Report

Absolutely, about +/-10 mg/dl difference between two meters from the same puncture would not bother me. But my results are much more spread.

I am reading that Accu-chek is more reliable:

Chuck Fisher
Chuck Fisher 2014-07-03 16:07:23 -0500 Report

Also Consumer Reports has results on 25 meters.
I use a Bayer Contour Next type of meter. It's one of the most accurate and repeatable meters according to Consumer Reports.

neverlowbg 2014-07-03 21:50:12 -0500 Report

Most pump users use the Bayer contour next due to it works with the pump and is often very close to accurate when I'm at dr or lab I pull out my meter and rest to compare to there readings and they are not that far apart maybe 10 mg/do with lab they give me a little drop from the line they draw blood from so it's a couple days before I know how it compared to lab but usually not that far apart again plus pump companies look for the best meters as they don't want pump users going low or high but being properly dosed looks good on them and my a1c has been best it's been in 2 yrs since I went on the pump

evaziem 2014-07-03 12:28:04 -0500 Report

The glucose tests at the doctor's office or labs and at home are NOT testing the same thing. Thus they are not compatible.

Glucose tests taken at a doctor's office measure PLASMA glucose.
Home glucose meters measure WHOLE blood glucose.

funnygirl98 2014-07-03 11:34:46 -0500 Report

Thanks for sharing Gabby;-) I sometimes wonder if my strips or minitor are accurate especially when I do it at home and then go in to the dr or hospital for surgery and they test my bs and I've had times where mine is way different …I just poped it up as being a fluke.

Trudie Ann
Trudie Ann 2014-07-03 21:48:23 -0500 Report

funnygirl98; A fluke, or stress is what I think of first. Yes this was an interesting article Thanks Gabby.

evaziem 2014-07-03 12:29:21 -0500 Report

See my reply above why the hospital's tests give different numbers.

Chuck Fisher
Chuck Fisher 2014-07-03 15:33:59 -0500 Report

When I have been hospitalized, the staff just uses a glucose meter like we all do at home. It is not a "lab" test by any means.

GabbyPA 2014-07-04 09:17:28 -0500 Report

At our hospital, I think the meters they use are different. They are huge! I don't know if they are just very old models or do more than our home ones do.

TRay043 2014-07-03 10:27:50 -0500 Report

The spotlight is on this now and hopefully will continue to shine, thanks for sharing Gabby.

evaziem 2014-07-03 10:00:01 -0500 Report

I am very disappointed with my meters: Prodigy and Accu-chek.
From the same puncture, I get two different results. The difference my be as high as 40 mg/dL.

Which meter is correct, if any?

The difference is not constant, it varies.
See this:

jigsaw 2014-07-03 14:20:10 -0500 Report

You can't expect lab results, without utilizing a lab. There's quite a bit to consider, if your not getting satisfactory results. Personally, I have numerous meters, and I can utilize them to where I can control my bg quite satisfactorily. Certainly, it would be good if they found ways and meters to increase accuracy, but I've had good control as a result of my meters for years! My endo also uploads my meter readings, as well as checking my A1c, and BG, for comparisons.

Here's a link that clarifies the point at hand:s.

evaziem 2014-07-03 15:15:48 -0500 Report

I am not trying to compare my results with lab's but between two meters. I take one measurement with Prodigy and immediately with Accu-chek. The time interval is maybe 5-10 seconds-it's to write down the result and squeeze another drop. I do not pierce my finger again.

Everything is the same:
- puncture
- blood sample
- temperature, humidity and elevation.
The difference is the meters and test strips. The diffrence of over 40 mg/dl is NOT acceptable.

elizag1 2014-07-03 09:36:11 -0500 Report

Very interesting..Mom checks here they need to be accurate because people believe they are. I hope this is done like sooner than soon.

Carlos Espino
Carlos Espino 2014-07-03 08:47:39 -0500 Report

Very important info because many people are confuse about this and they thing that every showed is ok. Thank you Gabby.

Pynetree 2014-07-03 08:37:08 -0500 Report

Good share, Thanks Gabby! Like you, I worry about the testing body, Abbot Labs, having a slant in test results. And the ability to test a good cross section of meters. But overall, it is encouraging that they see the need and are moving towards affirming accuracy of meters.

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