Accuracy.

Testing your BG is a normal part of the day for a person with diabetes.  But the past 3 days I have been testing my BG twice as much.  You see, I have not been satisfied with the readings from my BG meter.  I mentioned this to my CDE at our appointment last week and she suggested I try a different one.  That’s when my quest in comparing results began.

For all my BG tests since Tuesday evening, I have tested on both my One Touch Ping and the Freestyle Lite meters.  Plus using my Dexcom CGM as an added measurement tool.  (If we’re friends on Facebook, you’ve most likely seen my pictures)  Now I am in no way trying to give any company a bad name or promote another.  I am sharing my own personal experience with my own BG results. And looking for the accuracy that I (we all) desperately need to manage our diabetes effectively.  But I have to admit, I’m not a happy camper.

Every single result from the One Touch meter has been lower than the Freestyle.  And sometimes by a lot.   Like 89 mg/dL vs. 169.  Or 116 mg/dL vs. 261.  I took the average of all the readings from the past 3 days from both meters.  (Yes I’m keeping a spreadsheet logging all this information.  And yes you may call me a nerd ;)) With those averages, I calculated the a1c equivalents for each.  The difference? 1.1%  A whole percent!  The Ping meter warranted a 5.6 a1c while the Lite meter a 6.7.  Rewind to 4 1/2 years ago when I first started pumping.  Those first pre-CGM years, I saw an improvement in my BGs.  But I would leave my endo appointments in tears, not understanding why my a1c wouldn’t budge below say 7.8ish even though according to my BG averages, it should have been lower than that.  Well I think I may have found the answer.  If my meter is giving me readings that are too low, of course it’s not going to tie into my a1c.

I did the recommended control solution test for the Ping and naturally it was within the normal range.  That’s when I called One Touch.  I troubleshooted with the CS rep, giving him my discrepancies in readings between meters.  I also gave him six back to back readings from the Ping that were over the 20% threshold.  Just from the past 2-3 weeks.  They are sending me a new meter.  And while I do appreciate this, I am not too convinced it will solve the issue.

Then my friend Faye, left a link to this article on my Facebook page: Are glucose meters providing false sense of security?  I had heard about the patient losing her life because of the hospital erroneously giving her too much insulin.  But now to hear that it could have been prevented just by using a glucose meter that is accurate?  That makes me feel so many different emotions it’s impossible to put into words.

I plan to continue my thorough comparison of BG results for a bit longer, especially with the replaced Ping meter.  At my next blood drawing I am going to test at the same time with both meters as well.  Then I will decide if making a switch is called for.  I know no glucose meter I use is going to be 100% accurate.  The FDA needs to work on that.  Pronto.  But I shouldn’t have to test my BG two or three different times each moment that I’m testing to get something near accurate.   

If anyone from One Touch happens to be reading this, please don’t hate me.  And if anyone from the FDA happens to be reading this, listen up.  I want you all to know this so that you can keep the diabetes community safe and offer better, more accurate products for us.  Our lives depend on it.

15 thoughts on “Accuracy.

  1. Hate shmate! People from One Touch SHOULD be reading this. I use their Link meter for the Minimed pump and it is SO off ALL the time it gives me fits of rage. Sometimes, I have to test three times and the only reason I know it’s off in the first place is because of my Dexcom. I’m glad you’re doing this, I just wish it wasn’t necessary. Sigh.

  2. My Daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 18 months old. At the hospital, I was given a faulty Freestyle lite meter. It took us months to figure this out. Her numbers were all over the place and we couldn’t figure out why we couldn’t get them under control. I was a nervous wreck. We switched her meter(to another freestyle lite) and things are much better. It is so scary to think I could have hurt her not giving the correct dose of insulin. Now I always test a couple of times and make necessary phone calls if a number seems odd to me.

  3. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I have to say it makes me wish my insurance would cover a dexcom (or any CGMS for that matter) This is definitely scary stuff. Our LIVES depend on it! I would get in touch with Sean (from the adult group) he tests on multiple meters and figures out the percentage that each meter is off. Maybe you guys could start a study?

  4. Oddly enough, I’ve found the exact opposite to be true. When my son was dx’d two years ago, we got a Freestyle lite. I’m a bit anal retentive, so when his numbers were high, I’d recheck – nearly always without having to re-stick him. The freestyle would frequently have vast differences in results (30-40 points) especially when high. When he switched to the pump (Minimed) we got a One Touch, and when I compared results, the one touch would give repeatable readings, usually with a difference of less than 10 points. The Freestyle was nearly always higher. Over the past year, we’ve collected a couple of Mini’s which again give mostly consistent readings. The cgm part of his pump can vary from dead spot on to what are you thinking. That descrepancy I blame on user error, and it’s accurate more times than not. I read somewhere that meters can go “bad” and lose accuracy over time, perhaps they need expiration dates. But I really wish I could have confidence that no matter what meter I used, it would be accurate.

  5. Wow. That is REALLY freakin’ FAR OFF. I totally think I get a false sense of security from Joe’s meter. It is hard to know what device to trust. Scary. I hope the new meter does the trick for you. Let us know. I am curious as Joe uses the Ping too.

  6. With the One Touch Ultra Smart, I haven’t had many problems. The #’s seem to coordinate with my A1C. I have, however, had problems with a lot of the Lifescan test strips. I test 10+/day and have recently been getting a lot of “Error 4″ (“test strip problem”) randomly for months (maybe 1 out of every 10 strips) and when I finally had enough – two “Error 4s” back-to-back, I called Lifescan. Just nothing they can do – a “test strip error”. I also asked them if the strips should be sticking together and I have to break some of them apart (stick together side-to-side) when I remove them from the container, they said no – they said the strips were “cut wrong”. The c/s rep offered to replace 100 of the “cut wrong” strips. But the “Error 4’s” – just happens. Like Reyna said, “a false sense of security” – that’s how I feel all day (and night) long.

  7. I’ve used One Touch for 19 years, but I’ve often wondered about how the accuracy of meters translates into A1C results. It’s annoying enough to have multiple One Touch meters that don’t even agree with each other, but it’s even worse not knowing if anything is really “right”. Sure, I know I feel high or low and can confirm with the meter that what I’m feeling is appropriate for that reading. But what if how I’ve been feeling at 70 mg/dl (according to the meter) for these many years is really how I feel at 100 mg/dl? That would just throw my entire world upside down. Up would be black, east would be left, I don’t know. Good post though…

  8. i use the animas ping now, but have used the one touch mini and the one touch ultra 2 for many, many years, pre-pump. i am going, right now, to do a test using all three metres at the same time with the same sample( holy ouch!) and see what the results are. i am very curious!
    it’s really scary to think we are bolusing for a certain BG# in relation to our carbs and we could be so off!!

  9. ok, so i only used 2 machines, the OneTouch Ping and the OneTouch UltraMini. (batteries are dead on my OneTouchUltra 2). the results:: OneTouch Ping ~ 5.6mmol/L (100mg/dl)
    OneTouch UltraMini ~ 5.4mmol/L (97mg/dl)
    i guess that’s not too bad. i will definately be testing at the same time they draw blood when i go for my next A1c in a couple months, just to double check though!!

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  11. just found this post from george’s blog and HOLY COW i cannot believe the discrepancies! well, let me rephrase that: i can, but it’s discombobulating! HOLY COW. thanks for sharing.

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