Penny Wise and Pound Foolish: Will Shortsighted Cost Reduction Measures Compromise Patient Access to Promising Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose Technology >

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Abstract

In this issue of Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, Grady and coauthors enrolled 101 patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to evaluate new technology incorporated into the LifeScan VerioPro and VerioIQ blood glucose meters. The “pattern detection” software provides real-time, onscreen messages that alert users to patterns of high glucose (fasting and premeal) and low glucose as they are detected. The study showed that most participants possess a good understanding of the factors that can cause hyperglycemia; however, their understanding of the causes of hypoglycemia events was not as strong. Nevertheless, more than 70% of participants indicated they preferred to use a blood glucose meter that provides pattern detection capability. Although not designed to assess the impact of the pattern detection tool on clinical outcomes, the study highlights the value of continuous innovation in self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) technology among manufacturers. Unfortunately, many patients may never have access to these systems due to reductions in Medicare reimbursement. Instead, they may be forced to use SMBG systems that are inaccurate and provide inadequate patient support. Stronger regulatory requirements are needed to ensure that all SMBG systems marketed to patients are accurate, reliable, and supported by adequate patient training, and current health care reimbursement policies should be restructured to encourage manufacturers to continue their efforts to develop innovative technology to further improve the utility and usability of their SMBG systems.

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