A review of the talking glucometer, and some software to download data and send it to a website.
This is a meter that talks, so you can get your glucose reading if your eyesight is failing. It speaks in English, Spanish, French, and Arabic. The device uses 2 AAA batteries, so it has a long life, and you can get the batteries anywhere.
Setup is performed by pushing a button inside the battery compartment. This is a nice design feature.
You can set the language, volume, and date. Press the “M” button in front to change the value, and the “set” button on the back to set it and move to the next option.
To clear the data, you get to the last option, and hold the “M” button down a long time.
Single Button Hassles
Because there’s only one button on the front, you need to press it different ways to read your data. A long press turns the meter on. A short press reads through the average measurements, and then the individual measurements.
To test accuracy, I just metered myself and compared it to the value produced by the TrueMetrix GO, my main meter.
A clinical study of the GO’s accuracy said it’s within ISO specs, with 60% of GO results within 5 points of a lab test result. 94% were within 10 points of a lab test result. What this means is: if you get a reading of 100mg/dl, the actual value could be 90 to 110, but it’s probably within 95 to 105.
Here’s a table of readings:
Prodigy AutoCode, TrueMetrix GO, Nova Max 117,114,- 104,106,- 103,86,- 101,87,- 107,103,113 110,109,- 102,99,- 104,100,- 123,133,-
The Prodigy shows less variance than the True Metrix Go: 56.6 vs. 203.1. The Prodigy standard deviation is 7.5, vs. the Go at 14.2. The average of differences between the two measurements was 6.4.
FDA approves meters where they are within +- 10% from the blood glucose measured in a lab. So, for a little over half, the two readings were within 5 points of each other. The rest were below 20 points.
The worst case scenario is that one meter is 10% too low, and the other is 10% too high. At a measurement of around 100mg/dl, that just means a 20mg/dl difference.
All these numbers are so close, there’s no way i could point out anything and say, “it doesn’t work right.” My feeling is that the Prodigy meter isn’t as sensitive as the Go, but I would not hesitate to use the Prodigy.
Digression: Some High Days
I had some high glucose days from eating sushi, and got the following readings on this meter. These are in line with what have experienced before: 109, 169, 156, 132, 121, 138, 126, 124, 118
Personally, because I don’t take insulin or a drug, my “treatment” for these high numbers is to eat less food, and sometimes take a walk or do something physical. One incident like a 169 typically results in 1 to 2 days of relatively high numbers, especially after eating a meal.
The Prodigy Software, Old and New
Because the meter has only one button, it’s kind of annoying to read the data out of the meter.
You can get the software at: Prodigy’s software download page.
The good news: the data cable is a USB mini-B cable, which is typically used to connect small hard drives to computers. You can still find them at some mom-and-pop dollar stores for a couple dollars. Otherwise, they’re around $5 online.
The software runs. It requires a registration, which I found annoying, but it functioned. I don’t think it’s right to force meter users to upload their data to a service.
How to Fix the Old Prodigy Software to Work
The bad news: the software doesn’t seem to work with Window 10, out of the box. I installed it, and it runs, but didn’t communicate with the device. After searching around I found out how to fix this:
Find the .EXE file, C:\Program Files\ProdigyDiabetesManagement\ProdigyDiabetesManagementSystem.exe, and right-click on it. In the Compatibility tab, set it to Windows XP Service Pack 3, and Run as Administrator.
Then, in the Device Manager (type “Device Manager” into the Windows-key search) you can find the device under the COM and LPT ports. I changed my meter to use COM1. I don’t think the exact number matters, but, I figure set it low, so it gets tested first.
To make sure it downloads, you need to run the program like this:
- Disconnect the meter from USB (I usually unplug it on the laptop side).
- Log in, and get to the “splash screen” with all the people on it. Now, plug it in.
- Click “Import Data”, the folder icon.
- Click the blue “Import” button. The meter should shut itself off, and the import will happen.
Tech Note: the device has a Prolific USB-to-Serial converter, so the meter will show up as a COM port on the Windows machine. 9600 8-N-1.
The software itself is “ok” at best. It lacks data exportation, which is what I want.
Diasend, the New Software
Prodigy basically got out of the reporting software business, and now have you send data to diasend.com.
Diasend is a web-based blood glucose tracking tool, and includes a program, the Diasend Uploader, that talks to your meter, extracts data from it, and uploads it to Diasend. The Diasend Uploader is comes in versions for Windows and Mac OS X.
The Diasend Uploader works much better than the old Prodigy software. Before running it, you unplug your meter. You start it up, and then plug in the meter. The application downloads the data, and then uploads it.
The first time you run it, you need to log into your Diasend account. Subsequent runs don’t require a login.
The Diasend web application shows your results in the usual reports. It’s good.
It also has an export to Excel feature, which is really nice. The CAPTCHA was really hard – so keep trying.