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Medtronic UltraLink.

As I mentioned last week, there was a random package from Minimed left on my doorstep.  And being the big geek that I am, I think I actually clasped my hands together and said "Oooh, what's this?"  Funny how an unexpected diabetes gadget can bring such instant joy.  The techno-joy in me implodes and I'm eager to rip open the box and push all the shiny new buttons.

But I've digressed again.  Imagine that?

I've been using the Medtronic UltraLink for a few days now, watching as the results ping directly to my insulin pump.  This is a good thing, because I never, ever entered my blood sugars manually before this.   I'm quick to test but not very vigilant with data management.  Having tools like the Dexcom and now this UltraLink are useful because I can go about my daily diabetes business and then load up the data every few days.  For someone like me, with a schedule that doesn't allow for much mucking around, this convenience is crucial.

UltraLink vs. Ultra2.  Go to your corners and let's have a clean fight.

The UltraLink is a bit bigger than my Ultra2 - not by much but apparently by enough to make the meter case about 25% bigger.  Thankfully, syncing my meter up to my pump was very easy.  I just needed to go into my pump settings, input the serial number on my meter, and viola! it's pinging results with a happy little beep.   The ping is almost instant and the results are logged in my pump, so when I upload my data to Carelink, it's easier to see the Big Picture, with insulin doses and corresponding blood sugars hanging out there together.

I'm all for convenience.  Because I, unfortunately, do not have the time to do all this blood sugar logging.  Making the process all-inclusive is a nice change from "Okay, grab the meter, load up the results to my blood glucose spreadsheet, then write in the insulin doses manually ... what the ... ugh, the thing turned off while I was scrolling through ... I can't remember if this bolus went with that result ... is Nip/Tuck on?  I'm sick of this crap already."

Lancing devices ... aren't they cute?  Awww ...

The lancing device that came with UltraLink is smaller, by comparison, than the older device I was using.  Funny how the meter got bigger but the lancer got smaller.   It's the same one that came with my UltraMini, so I was already accustomed to it's teeny shape.  A smaller lancet device works best for when I am sporting some fancy dress and teeny purse combo, forcing me to ditch my meter case and leave my testing goodies roaming loose in my purse. 

Overall, I'm finding the UltraLink to be a convenient, relatively painless switch over.  I'm still using my Ultra2 in addition to the UltraLink because I don't have enough brain cells these days to make any management changes.  Once the wedding is over and my brain starts to regain a recognizable shape, I will most like swap meters and go with this UltraLink version. 

So, rest o' the blogosphere, what's your take on the UltraLink?  Are you using it faithfully?  Does its size make you a little "eh" about it?   Are you tempted to cover it with stickers and give it a name?  (I'm looking for small squirrel stickers and am planning to call it "Harrison," but that's yet another digression.) 

Comments

Kerri,
I am loving the UltraLink. I didn't realize that it was larger until I read your blog. I thought that I had just overstuffed my handbag. I did not switch to the smaller lancing device but, I will the next time I change my lancet.

To be honest, I haven't even taken mine out of the box yet. (Bad bad girl!!) I do manually enter my BG when I use the bolus wizard. I'm currently using the Accu-Check Compact Plus, which I love love love. I love that you pre-load a drum with 16 test strips, and I love that the lancet snaps right into the side. It's all one piece (and not huge) and it's so easy to handle when I'm out and about - no fiddling with strips and a lancet. If it would ping results directly to my pump, it would be the sugar-free icing on my diet cake. :) But for now, I am content to load it's results to the CareLink site with the special cable I bought from Accu-check.

I like mine, but haven't been able to use it because I was using the BD and I have to use up all my strips before my insurance will pay for the new prescription. I don't like the new lancet device (the same on in the new Ultra Mini I have). I was worried that my Accu-Check Mulit click wouldn't fit in the new case, but it does (thank goodness!). I can't wait to be able to use the UltraLink when I get my new strips.
The only down side: I can't have it send the readings directly to my pump since I am on CGMS and that causes it to automatically calibrate (which you should only do 2 to 3 times per day). But that's okay by me. I'm just glad to be using the new strips and meter because the strips are cheaper. :)

I would love to be using my new UltraLink meter, but I don't have one because I have insurance with Kaiser, and Kaiser won't allow their pump patients to get the new meter. Why Kaiser won't cover the new meter, I don't know. Sigh...they cover lots of things, like 100% of my strips, but no new meter. I'm thinking of switching insurance plans when open enrollment comes around.

I love the Ultra Link as well. It is nice to have a meter that communicates with my pump. As for the lancing device I use the Accu-check multi clix. I am horrible about changing my lancets and the Multi Clix makes it easier.

The Ultralink requires coding. Yet another source of easily-prevented errors is not something I need. I wish US customers would get the Contour Link, like the rest of the world!

Cheers,
Felix.

Mine is still in the box as well, as I have hundreds of freestyle flash strips to finish, but my plan is to switch over soon. Like you I never log and when I go to endo, we have nothing to talk about because there is nothing to look at except my A1C number which to me is useless as it does not show the terrible lows or soaring highs I have and usually and I say USUALLY, I know why these happened. I just think logging is not that beneficial as I can have such different results day after day even if I eat the same thing. My favorite saying with diabetes is that every day is different and it is so not an exact science.

One question: what is up with the squares of fabric on the mesh inside the meter case? The only thing I can think of is that they're for wiping the excess blood off your finger. Which is pretty cool, since I am sort of disgusting and have occasionally been known to wipe my finger there anyway.

I think the meter's definitely a big step up from the dodgy old BD meter, but I don't see myself using it much since I use the Minimed sensors and don't want to calibrate all the time. Also, couldn't they have added a backlight since they made the meter so huge anyway?

Okay, am I the only one who isn't a fan of the UltraLink?

Sure I like that it beams the numbers to my pump, but the meter is clunky, the case is too large, and the text is really small. With the other meter companies creating smaller, sleeker meters that take less blood and offer a strip light, I think OneTouch really needs to step it up. Seriously, at least the BD takes less blood and matches the pump...

P.S. Sara - I think the squares of fabric are to protect the screen and buttons from whatever is being stored in the pocket.

I haven't even taken it out of the box yet. I must be the only one who actually likes my purple BD meter, but I guess that's just b/c I am soooo stoked to be on a pump and to have the numbers transmit to my pump that I can't see anything to complain about.

I'm sure the new Ultralink is the same deal, but different maker, so I'm sure I'll like it, but my question is, what makes it so much better than the BD? Is it just b/c it's by OneTouch?

Uh, am I the only idiot not to have heard of this thing? Where have I been? And how did you get it?

I LOVE my new UltraLink. I had given up on the BD Logic meter because it was just so inaccurate (especially when low). I have always been a fan of One Touch, and consider their meters to be the most accurate, so I was thrilled to get my new meter. It's great to have the results beamed right to my pump (and calibrate my CGM). The size doesn't bother me because I already have to carry a HUGE bag to accommodate my daily diabetes arsenal (extra strips, infusion set change, sensor, insulin, etc.), so it didn't really matter that it was larger than my UltraSmart.
Like Sara, I wondered what those fabric strips on the mesh part of the case are for. It's been bugging me (yes, I'm a type A, what of it?).
As for 'Chelle, I don't understand why you're not getting the new meter. My insurance wasn't billed for it all, so the fact that you have Kaiser shouldn't matter (unless they don't cover One Touch Ultra test strips). This might be worth fighting for.

When I got the UltraLink, I tested with it and my OneTouch mini at the same time, with the same drop of blood. The UltraLink said I was 100, while the mini said I was 123. I made sure that the code was correct, so I was a little baffled. Now I'm worried that the UltraLink is a little inaccurate, so I haven't started using it. I know my mini is accurate because I have recently tested it against other meters.

I'm using the UltraLink and love it too - I've always been a OneTouch fan though... I just wish it was purple (or pink!). I've found it to be more accurate than the UltraMinis that I have too (those, like my BD, always give me sketchy results, especially when low). Of course, I'm switching over from the UltraSmart, so it wasn't a difficult change... now I've just moved my UltraSmarts to the vehicles for emergencies.

I like the UltraLink so far. Initially, I was really annoyed when I noticed it was quite a bit bigger.. but then I was very happy because I noticed that it takes AAA batteries. (Must need lotta juice for all that transmittin'.) Hurrah for just having to buy one type of battery. LOL

so i got this random package last week as well. the only reason why i havn't switched to a checker that sends my BG to the pump is bc im to happy with my freestyle flash light. its really small has backlight and shoots light from the front so i can see where my blood goes, uses small amount of blood...o and its cool blue. everytime i see these other checkers i just laugh bc there way big.

I'm actually a Cozmo user, but ever since I started using the Cozmonitor I have loved having the pump get all of my BG readings. It's so nice not to have to enter them manually or guess on corrections, etc. And it makes logging a gillion times easier. Enjoy it!

A useless product! Must code meter; no backlight; no strip light; must fill all blood on the strip at once or get an error; calibrates the CGMS every time... I love my freestyle lite and I won't change to OneTouch unless the MiniMed meter were also a remote to bolus with.

I had a visit with my endo yesterday and got a script for the UltraLink strips so I am about to start using it. It did bother me to see that the case was slightly bigger and that the meter is about the size of a blackberry. It must be better than the meter I'm using now that originally came with my pump!

Yes, I'm using the UltraLink... There are 3 things that would be a definite improvement...

1. Put a cotton-pickin' backlight on the screen... This was the most annoying issue...

2. Make the text font larger... I don't mind having the scroll through menues to use the meter, but I WOULD like to be able to read it easily.

3. A strip light would be so handy... especially for testing at night while lying in bed... I don't want to have to turn on the light and wake up my wife with it. Freestyle Flash has a strip light and it's great... Too bad Freestyle didn't get the Minimed contract. And their test strips are WHITE instead of black. White strips are a LOT easier to handle at night or in a dim car while you're driving. I test 10 times a day and having a meter with good features ia a must. I miss my UltraSmart... At least it has a backlight.

I read most of the comments originally and decided to start using the One Touch UltraLink as soon as I got it (June 2008). It was as convenient as the NovaMax (formerly BD) meter that I received in February 2008. One thing immediately observed: it takes almost twice as much blood for the One Touch as the Nova Max strips.

After three months using the One Touch my A1C went from 7.1 to 7.5 so my doctor said I should compare the readings of the two meters. The One Touch read consistently 20mg to 30mg lower than the NovaMax thus accounting for the rise in A1C and I programmed my pump to only read the NovaMax. My A1C went back down.

My doctor then suggested I ask LifeScan for another One Touch which they promptly provided. The two One Touch meters tracked each other and were again reading 20mg~30mg lower. I then took all three meters to my doctor's office for comparison with their Accu-chek meter and found the same results, the One Touch meters read 20mg~30mg lower than the Accu-chek.

I have continued to use the NovaMax with great results. However, a problem has arisen with the insurance (BC/BS) who won't approve the NovaMax test strips any longer as the Medtronic Diabetes website recommends only the One Touch as the qualified ultralink meter.

I've complained to Medtronic but so far no results. I'm still complaining to the insurance company.

I know there are other meters that have the ultra link also, and I had a list that was once provided by Medtronic, but I've lost the list.

I'm really unhappy with the One Touch compared to the NovaMax. Any suggestions???

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