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Posts tagged ‘Verio Sync’

Animas Vibe: A Few Weeks Later.

Again, disclosure:  I work with Animas and have a sponsorship contract.  Here are more details on my disclosures. And this is the Mr. Plow theme song.  Mr. Plow would be great, about now, since the snow keeps dumping down outside.

It’s been several weeks since I’ve switched to the Animas Vibe insulin pump (with integrated CGM technology – doesn’t that sound like a rehearsed phrase?  How about “insulin thing with CGM thing built in and have you seen my coffee, pleaseandthankyou.”), and I thought I’d take a crack at some second impressions, since the first impressions were only compiled after a few days.

Talking ‘Bout CGM:  I am still into the concept and application of having one device that does the work of two.  While the Vibe still requires that I wear an insulin pump infusion set and a CGM sensor as two separate insertions, it removes the need for an external CGM receiver.  I wrote about this last time, but to reiterate:  I am okay with not using the separate receiver.  I’ve traveled a lot in the last few weeks and the first few trips, I brought along my CGM receiver so I could plug it into the SHARE port.

For the record, I still haven’t upgraded to the 505 software.  Judge all you want.  :)   Which may explain my identical CGM graphs.  (And, also for the record, I’m really, really excited to see the new Dexcom receiver.  That may change how I feel about clouding, as it would be much simpler.)

But then Chris and I came to realize that we aren’t good at this whole “data sharing” thing.  As much as it sounds like a good plan in theory, we aren’t good at the application of it.  I think this becomes a patient-specific preference sort of thing, and for this PWD, I’m not a data-sharer.  But as I mentioned with that previous dead horse that I keep flogging, I like options.  Love them, actually.  And anything that gives data options – LIFE options – to people touched by diabetes, I am all for it.

(That sentence was a grammatical nightmare.  Ignore the sloppy parts and move on, yes?)

DiasendYesterday, for the first time in a long time, I downloaded (uploaded? loaded.) my data to Diasend.

The data collection portion is cumbersome.  I hate dongles and charging cords and all the extra beeps and wires required to make sense of diabetes data.  (Which is why I’m such a fan of the Verio Sync idea, which uses bluetooth technology to automagically suck the results off my meter and spit them into my iPhone, but there are issues with that system, too, because it’s only iOS compatible.  Pluses in one way, minuses in another.  But see aforementioned “I love options” sentiment, because it still applies.)  But I did download my pump data, which also downloaded my CGM data.  And, because I was feeling ambitious, I uploaded my glucose meter, too.

So this was my first time looking at Diasend with information about my insulin doses, glucose meter results, and CGM results on the same screen.  (No, I am not sharing my results.  My numbers have been absolute shit lately and I’m not going to pepper my blog with confirmation that I have diabetes.  I’ll let the c-peptide test that’s required by my insurance in order to cover my insulin pump serve as that confirmation.  Yes, that’s a thing.  Yes, more on that later.)

Diasend is good for granular information, but the information on the “compilation” tab was ace for me.  Seeing my blood sugar averages based on time of day was powerful.  (I have midnight to 11 am nailed and awesome.  Everything not in that time frame needs a solid snuggle these days.)   As a Mac user who hasn’t explored the new Dexcom/Mac Portrait (I’m woefully behind on everything that doesn’t involve Birdy these days), seeing my Dexcom data on my laptop is amazing.  I’ll be exploring Portrait in the next few days but in the meantime, I’m happy that information can be siphoned over to Diasend.  And it puts the constant flow of data into digestible context.

Pump Stuff.  Since I was a Ping user before, using the Vibe feels familiar and easy.  I’m still glad this sucker is waterproof and the button clicking process is familiar to me.  All of that feels the same.  One thing I have noticed is that the more my CGM needs attention, the faster the battery in my pump needs replacing.  This is annoying, but makes sense despite the annoyance.  For the first time ever, I’ve invested in lithium batteries for my pump and it seems to hold much better than the alkaline ones I have been using for the last … forever.  But overall, the pump feels familiar and comfortable, and since I hate change, that familiarity is a plus for me.

Alarms, for whatever reason, remain easier to hear and feel when they are coming from the pump.  This was a huge concern of mine because I thought the pump alarms would be muffled by clothes and bedding, making them hard to catch.  But I actually respond to low and high alarms more readily on the Vibe.  I am not sure why.  Maybe because it’s attached to my hip and I feel the vibration?

What remains to be seen is how the changing state of Dexcom progress will affect my feelings about this pump.  Right now, it’s the only one integrated with the CGM I already use, so that’s a huge plus.  But I am concerned about the fact that the software in the Vibe is already behind on the current Dexcom system.  I know the FDA process creates hurdles that are hard to clear, but since the Vibe has already cleared the Big One, can I expect that updates and upgrades will come fast and furious?  As a PWD using the Animas product, I hope this is the case.

And lastly, I’m hoping to have this pump covered by my insurance company.  I’m still trying to get a c-peptide test done (travel, snow, and issues with fasting) to fulfill the requirements issued by Blue Cross Blue Shield, so that journey remains ongoing.

Thankfully, I’m still pretty effing sure I have diabetes.   So yay?  Yay.

Airplane Mode.

When it comes to traveling by airplane, I follow all of the rules (if you don’t turn off your cell phone when it’s time to take off, I’m the one shooting you panicked looks, which is how my face remains for the duration of the flight).  Until we’re up in the air, I leave my Dexcom receiver fully shut down and when I was using the Ping meter, I kept the RF (radio frequency, aka the automagic shuttling of blood sugars from my meter to my pump) shut off.

imagine my delight when I finally figured out that pressing the button on the side of my Verio Sync twice in rapid succession would put my meter into airplane mode!  (IMAGINE IT!!!)

(But did I test in my seat on the airplane?  I’ll never tell.  ;) )

Verio Sync: Second Impressions.

[Second Disclosure Verse, Same as the First:  I have received the Verio Sync meter for review prior to the full US launch. I was not asked to write this review.  Opinions shared, for better or for worse, are mine.  Typos, too.]

It’s been about five weeks since I started using the Verio Sync, and after getting over the initial “eh, the screen isn’t as nice as the Verio IQ,” the transition was smooth.  The meter performs similarly to the Verio IQ, but it does have some potent perks.

Ahem.  Potent perks:

  • The battery life on the Sync is better than that of the IQ.  I think.  I actually haven’t seen the “low battery” icon yet on the Sync (except when the meter starts up after sticking a strip in, so I at least know the meter has a low battery icon).  With the IQ, I was charging it every five days or so, and it only lasted that long when I would manually shut the meter down after testing (holding the button down until the meter screen went blank).  The Sync turns off automatically much faster.  For now, I charge the Sync when I charge my Dexcom, which is every five or six days.
  • The syncing feature of the Sync doesn’t drain my iPhone battery as much as I’d thought, because I don’t leave the Bluetooth feature on my phone enabled all the time.  I enable Bluetooth as needed, uploading the results once or twice a day instead of every time I test.  This helps conserve battery on all fronts.
  • As a PWD who has always struggled with logging blood sugars, the app for this meter is awesome.  Not because it does anything truly remarkable (it doesn’t fly, and it doesn’t make me fly), but it does what it’s supposed to do:  automagically sucks my blood sugar results from the meter and loads them into the app.  For someone like me, who struggles with making the time to download meter results, this is extremely useful.  At a glance, I can see how things have been going, and it’s powerful motivation for me to either continue on the same path or to change the course of it … blood sugar-wise.  (See also:  things have been good the past few weeks, so lots of green on the graph.  But back in mid-December, there was more red up there than I’d like.  Something about keeping the green as the dominant color serves as incentive.  In other news, a bell just rang and now I’m craving a snack.)
  • I also saw some of my first pattern alerts crop up, which were more common with the Verio IQ.  Tagging doesn’t seem to be tied to “I ate” or “I didn’t eat” but more to time of day, seeing as how manually tagging blood sugars is a feature that was removed for the Sync.  (Again, this didn’t affect me much because after about four months with the IQ, I turned off the tagging feature.  It frustrated me that I could only be a “full apple” [before meal] or a “bitten apple” [after meal].  I needed a third icon for simply “not eating.”)

  • Another powerful bit of information for me is the ability to see my 14 day averages portioned out by time of day.  Again, being able to score at-a-glance information about when my blood sugars are in range, out of range, and free range (read: bonkers) is very useful and helps me make tweaks as needed.
  • I do not like swapping one feature for another, though.  The Ping meter had the ability to send results straight to my insulin pump, and I was to remote bolus using the meter.  The Verio IQ and the Sync do not.  And as I mentioned before, the Sync seems like an aesthetic step back when compared to the IQ.  I really wish glucose meters, as they are improved, didn’t take features away as they moved forward.

But, as previously mentioned, it seems accurate.  So far, it’s matched very well with the results I’ve seen from my Dexcom G4 sensor, and it’s also lined up neatly with the results I’ve seen from hospital-grade lab work (A1C draws).  Bells and whistles are nice, but accuracy and dependability reign absolutely supreme in this house.

Light Up Meter: Secondary Uses.

One thing I really love about recently-developed blood glucose meters is how so many of them have a small light at the top of the device, allowing PWD to FINALLY see what the hell they’re doing when they check in the dark.  Light up meters have saved precious blood droplets in bed, movie theaters, and dark restaurants (not to mention also helping keep me from dotting the bedsheets with my roaming fingertips).

But they also double nicely at a Disney-On-Ice event, where the light up kid-trap toys cost goofy (ha?) amounts and last only for the night.

(Kidding.  I didn’t make Birdy play with my meter instead of a light up toy.  I also didn’t buy her a light up toy, but that’s neither here nor there … actually, it’s still there because no way was I buying that crap.  I did feel completely innocuous when checking my blood sugar at this event, though, because so many people had their hands on something that threw light.  Assimilation!)

First Impressions: One Touch Verio Sync.

[Disclosures up front:  I currently have a contract with Animas and I have received the Verio Sync meter for review prior to the full US launch. I was not asked to write this review.  Opinions shared, for better or for worse, are mine.  Typos, too.]

“Mawm!  Are there cookies in there?” my daughter asked, after the package containing the Verio Sync meter was delivered.  (Not sure why, as we’ve yet to receive cookies in the mail.)

“No, it’s a new meter.  To check my blood sugar,” I replied.

“Oh.  To make sure it isn’t whoa?”

I’ve been using the Verio IQ for over a year now, and I have a good relationship with that meter.  (It still buys me flowers, and I scratch its back before bed.)  I’m adjusting to not using the Ping remote to bolus (though I miss that feature) and I don’t often use the tagging feature, but I like that it’s available, if I want to use it.  Basically, I want my meter to give me accurate results and to fit into my insurance coverage.  Those are my two big needs.  If it’s cool to look at and does fancy things, even better, but those first two needs make or break my relationship with a meter.

Testing out the Verio Sync wasn’t a big switch, but there are differences between the Sync and the IQ.  The Sync, at its core, is the same meter but it syncs up with my iPhone via the One Touch Reveal app, sucking all the results over and logging them automagically.

Comparing the Sync to the IQ is apples to apples, for me, because I was already happily using the IQ.  That said, I like these apples.  Personal pros and cons?  Got ‘em.


  • It looks and feels like the meter I was using (Verio IQ).  The results are consistent with my Verio IQ, and with my Dexcom results.  It fits into the meter bag I use.  It uses the same strips as the IQ.
  • The syncing mechanism is easy, and seamless, in that the Bluetooth capability on my iPhone needs to be active, and the Sync needs to be paired with my phone.  The set-up process took a matter of seconds.
  • The interface of the application is very visual, and downright pretty.  Like with the Dexom G4 system, adding in color-coding as a reference point is terrific because it gives me a quick look at how my blood sugars are doing.  Lots of green means I’m in-range often, while blue and red signify lows and highs, respectfully.  The bar graph of in-range/out-of-range is also calculated by percentages, which gives a more finely tuned look into my numbers.
  • Logging specifics like insulin dose (kind, units), activity levels (type, duration, exertion level), and being able to fine-tune the timing of my day through the logbook set-up make for personalized diabetes management.  My doctor will love this data, and I’d do well to look at it more closely.  (But how long will it be before I burn out on inputting all that data, and return to my basic meter needs of “be accurate, be covered?”)
  • Also, every data point has the option for notes, which makes a HUGE difference for me in terms of actually making the data useful.  I can say that I was 240 mg/dL before 60 minutes of moderate exercise, but being able to add that I took a correction bolus before exercising puts a post-exercise low into context more precisely than me looking at the results a few days later, forgetting I had corrected, and thinking that the moderate exercise dropped my blood sugar more than it did, in reality.  Data is most useful in context, and open-field note options are long overdue in this kind of diabetes software.  And not just in the blood sugar result data points, but ALL data points.

  • One thing I always look at on my meter(s) are the averages, and the Sync gives averages in an overall sense, but also offers blood sugar averages by time-of-day (and looking at mine, I see that that lunchtime results could use some love, as could before bed.)


  • Even though the device was paired and the Bluetooth was on, it didn’t sync automagically for the first few blood sugar checks.  I’m not sure why.  Now, a week later, it syncs fine.
  • Leaving the Bluetooth active on my phone sucks the battery life away.  Not optimal, especially while traveling.
  • Entering the logbook times of day was awkward.  Sliding the little white dots around to indicate the time took longer than it should have because my fingers are stupid.
  • The Sync has a white-text-on-black-screen feel on the meter itself.  This is the biggest con, for me, because the colorful screen of the Verio IQ is easier on the eyes on all levels.  Why go backwards?
  • Rechargeable meters seem to be the wave of the future, but needing to charge my meter makes me a little anxious.  I’m already worried I don’t have all the appropriate cables, etc. while I’m traveling, and now I need to make sure I have my meter charger, too.
  • I have absolutely no idea if I’m able to export the logbook to something I can print/send to my doctor.  Having it on my phone is great, but unless I can export the data to something shareable (even a Word doc), it’s only useful to me.  (Exporting the logbooks might be an option, but at the time of writing this, I haven’t figured it out yet.)
    EDIT:  I heard from the PR outreach person for Lifescan and they updated me re: the ability to export.  From her email:  “One of the comments we noticed had to do with exporting the log book to something you can print/send to your doctor. We wanted to let you know that by sending just what is on your screen, the system allows you to control what part of the logbook you’re sharing. You can use the 14-Day Results screen to email a table with all 14 days of results – just tap on the range bar on the 14-Day Glucose Report to get to the 14-Day Results Screen. When you share this screen as an email it is converted into a table.”  I tried this out by going to the 14 Day Results page and then pressing my finger against the screen and holding to bring up a “Help/Share” menu.  By clicking “Share,” I was given the option to “Email, Text, or Cancel.”  Clicking email exported the 14 Day Results page into an email – EASY.
  • If I don’t use the app, and I only use the meter, the Sync is inferior to the Verio IQ in look and feel.
  • Which brings me to the last con:  if the usual techno-joy burnout sets in and the meter becomes simply a meter (and not a clever way to easily create a logbook), it’s not as nice to use at the Verio IQ.  Accuracy seems to be the same as the IQ, but the MS-DOS look of the Sync screen isn’t nearly as nice as the updated, clean look of the Verio IQ.

If there was a way to mash up the visual appeal of the Verio IQ meter and have that be the one that automagically syncs with an iPhone app, this meter would hit all the marks for me.  For now, I’ll bounce between the Sync and the IQ as preference and phone battery allow.

Off to see if I can mail order cookies for Cyber Monday.


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