[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.
PROS of the VERIO SYNC:
- 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.)
CONS of the VERIO SYNC:
- 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.