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 AscensiaÂ® BREEZEÂ® 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 AscensiaÂ® BREEZEÂ® system fulfills a need in blood glucose monitoring
* 3 out of 4 patients were successful running a test with the AscensiaÂ® BREEZEÂ® system the first time
* 2 out of 3 people would recommend or switch to the AscensiaÂ® BREEZEÂ® 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 AscensiaÂ® BREEZEÂ® 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?