Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Not so much a breeze, more a complete washout

I finally overcame my antipathy to the surprise package this morning, at least enough to open the carton and check out the meter. But first I did a little research on Bayer Healthcare's website.
Here's the claim:
Studies show the new Ascensia® BREEZE® meter is preferred by patients and professionals: Ascensia(TM) BREEZE(TM)
And here's their data to back that up:
* 9 out of 10 healthcare professionals and patients say that the Ascensia® BREEZE® system fulfills a need in blood glucose monitoring
* 3 out of 4 patients were successful running a test with the Ascensia® BREEZE® system the first time
* 2 out of 3 people would recommend or switch to the Ascensia® BREEZE® system for its effortless handling

Well that sounds great, but a closer examination of the website and a thorough testing of the meter reveal a few problems.
Claim #1: 9/10 say the system fulfills a need. I'm sure it does. It takes a sample of blood and displays its glucose level. Sometimes that's all I need to know. But both my healthcare professionals and myself are looking for a little more information here. Like whether I had been exercising before the reading, how many carbs I had eaten before the last reading, how many I ate after, if I had been ill. This meter tells me the date and time and BG and that's it. Everything else I have to record in a logbook. How very 1980s. What's worse is the length of time that it takes to deliver the reading - 30 seconds. I could go crazy waiting. Meters have been getting faster, I could trade up to one that delivers the number in three seconds. Why would I trade down?
The second claim that 3/4 patients successfully ran a test the first time? It took me three goes. The machine is bigger than the one I'm used to and much more difficult to handle. I actually dropped it the first time I tried to use it.
The Breeze came with a wheel of 10 strips. I have had two correct readings out of six strips. Maybe I am very clumsy, maybe its the arthritis but, wait a minute, "the Ascensia® BREEZE® is so easy, it's the first meter to earn the Arthritis Foundation's Ease-of-Use Commendation". So it must be me.
Claim #3: 2/3 patients would swap their machine for this. Not this patient. This is a cheap feeling, flimsy, basic machine. It stores only 100 readings. My Lifescan Ultrasmart allows for 7, 14, 30, 60 and 90 day averages, by times of day in numeric or graph form. My Ultrasmart lets me test on my arm as well as finger. If I wanted to do that with the Breeze I would have to buy an alternative lancing device, although Bayer will kindlt reimburse $25 of the cost.
And here's my final worry about the accuracy and rigour of Bayer's data collection methods from their website "Based on interim results from Asecia Breeze evaulation tial. Final results may vary.". I want to know what this machine was preferred over. Urine testing perhaps?


Scott K. Johnson said...

Haha!! Great!

Maybe marketed to elderly type 2 patients?

Doesn't sound like a meter I would use, that's for sure!

Kevin said...

I have actually used the the Dex (and the Dex2) meters in the past. I must say, I found the test strip disks quite nice. Not having to open a vial, retrieve a strip, and then insert it into the meter was quite nice. I kept the meter in one pocket and a spare disk and lancet device in the other. I could reach in my pocket and slide a button to the left and then out and have a test strip waiting for a drop of blood before the meter was even out of my pocket.

It was very convenient for testing while on-the-go. It basically filled that need of not wanting to carry a bag full of supplies to dinner, a concert, or where-ever. And even if I had those things with me I used the meter while I was driving, or on the metro, or just plain ol' walking around.

But my problem was that keeping a meter in one's pocket day-in-and-day-out is pretty rough on the meter. I went through 3 of these meters, and then they "upgraded" the Dex2 with the "BREEZE." I'm sorry, but the whole two-handed approach to getting a new strip out in the BREEZE really dropped the ball on the one-handed approach I'd perfected on the Dex.
(I hate it when a product gets "upgraded" and it actually gets worse!).

So it was "bye-bye Ascensia meters" for me.

I now keep a OneTouch Ultra in my pocket, though all the print on the meter is completely worn off and the buttons bearly work, I find I really like having small meter on me (as in, on my person) at all times. And, since I use the UltraSmart as my primary meter, the two can fit nicely into the same software database.

Heidi said...

"There are slightly false statements, damned lies and statistiscs" as a former teacher of mine used to say. I guess that the Breeze marketing is an excellent example of that :-)

I wouldn't change my meter for that one either. I like small, fast meters preferably with test strips individually packed in foil because this reduces the proportion of the meter case - this is why I have primarily used Medisense meters the past 12 years.

Caro said...

30 seconds? That is ridiculous.

Like Scott said, it may suit older people who find small meter difficult to handle, or people who only test once or twice a day and so only give up a minute to their testing. If my meter took 30 seconds I'd spend between 4 and 8 minutes a day waiting for results, versus an average of 40-80 seconds now. 4 minutes is way more time than I have!