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Why your patient’s averages may be less reliable than you’d expect

Why your patient's averages may be less reliable than you'd expect

Thursday 13th April 2017

All blood glucose meters available in the UK must now meet the requirements of the ISO15197:2013 international standard for providing reliable readings and most blood glucose meter manufacturers have published independent clinical evidence proving compliance with this standard. Unfortunately, no international standard can predict how blood glucose meters intended for self monitoring are ultimately used by your patients.

In the hospital laboratory it is expected for biomedical scientists to run control samples when analysing patient specimens to ensure that the equipment is accurately calibrated and providing reliable results. Likewise, blood glucose meter manufacturers recommend that it is good practice for diabetics to regularly check their meter with a control solution. Reputable manufacturers provide tri-level controls of low, normal and high levels of glucose but most commonly a single control with a normal glucose level will often suffice to provide reassurance that your patient's meter is functioning correctly. Under an agreement between most manufacturers and the NHS, control solutions are available free of charge for patients.

The problem

However, many popular blood glucose meter models still require the user to 'tell' the meter when a control solution is being used, usually by pressing one or more buttons before or after the sample is added. If the patient forgets, or doesn't know how, to tell the meter that the sample is from a control solution and not blood then the result will be incorrectly stored as a patient's blood glucose reading and used for averaging.

This could have important implications for meeting DVLA requirements and patient care. Control solution readings, particularly from a control solution with normal levels of glucose, will distort the patient's averages to look better than they actually are. In a worst scenario, control solutions could be deliberately used to provide a false blood glucose profile in order to meet DVLA requirements.

A solution

A few blood glucose meters, like the VivaChek Ino from JRBiomedical, can automatically identify when a control solution is used by the patient due to an additional dedicated electrode on the test strip for that purpose. The reading is automatically flagged in the memory as being a control reading with date and time and more importantly, is excluded from patient averages. Medicine Management Teams and Diabetes Specialist Nurses should be aware that this is not a common feature of meters with test strips costing less than £10.

Selecting a meter with auto control recognition can help provide reassurance that your patient's averages are reliable to satisfy DVLA requirements and appropriate clinical management.

VivaChek Ino Blood Glucose Monitoring

VivaChek™ blood glucose meters can automatically detect when a control solution has been used and excludes the reading from patient results so that you and the DVLA can be confident of your patient's blood glucose readings and averages.

  • Auto detects control solution
  • Published independent evidence of ISO15197:2013 compliance**
  • Stores 900 readings - not deletable
  • Readings locked to mmol/L
  • Meter activated on strip insertion
  • No coding or calibration required
  • 0.5µL sample size

9 out of 10 VivaChek™ users rated the meter as easy to use. With test strips costing just £8.99 for 50 (2 vials of 25 strips) and support from our nurse led customer care team, why not give us a call today.

To order VivaChek™ starter packs for your clinic please call our nurse on Freephone 0800 612 7531.