Back in August, Ascensia Diabetes Care convened a group of diabetes bloggers in Adelaide for the launch of their new blood glucose meter, the Contour Next One. You can read more about what was discussed during the actual event in this post.
Blood glucose meter accuracy isn’t something I’ve really considered prior to the past two or three years where I’ve taken a more active role in managing my blood sugars. When I was first diagnosed, I just accepted that a blood glucose meter was a blood glucose meter. Since connecting to other people with diabetes, and the emergence of new choices, I’ve come to realise that I can actually choose the devices that best suit my needs.
I was most impressed by the 8-ish percent accuracy that the Contour Next One boasted, which even beats out Roche’s AccuChek Guide which is my meter of choice. I’ve been using it on and off over the past couple of weeks, and I have to say that overall I am impressed.
I really like the sleek design of the meter. There’s a strip port light for testing in the dark, which is a little tricky to find as it does not automatically illuminate when you insert a strip. You’ll need to press your menu button twice before inserting your test strip. Readings are colour coded as red for ‘low,’ green for ‘in range’ and yellow for ‘high.’ The port light will also flash with the corresponding colour to reflect your blood sugar if you wish. I found that annoying and turned it off.
Like the Guide, the Contour will wirelessly transmit blood glucose readings from your meter to the Contour Diabetes app on your phone. It’s a really visually pleasing experience, and my readings seem to sync to the app with more ease than the Guide does.
My favourite feature is being able to see all of my readings plotted on a 24 hour graph, which is the next best thing to having a FreeStyle Libre or CGM. The colour markers are handy in this context. It will also produce time period averages, which can also be further classified (before meal, after meal, exercise etc.) if you place a ‘marker’ on each of your readings.
So far, the Contour also wins out over AccuChek on battery life. Since August, I’ve probably gone through four or five boxes of test strips using the same meter and batteries that came with it. I can’t give you an exact statistic, but it does feel like I’m constantly seeing the low battery icon pop up on my Guide.
Another thing I learned at the summit is that apparently I shouldn’t be paying for meter batteries, much to the amusement of others in the room. Ascensia have explicitly stated that replacement batteries are included with the meter, and can be ordered online. Apparently the same applies to most other brands of blood glucose meters, too!
The test strips come in capped vials, which do seem quite bulky after using AccuChek’s impressive spillproof vials. The meter does give you more time to apply more blood to the strip if your sample is inadequate. I’ve only just pulled out my Guide today and have already been met with a few pesky strip fill errors, making me appreciate this feature even more.
The lancing device also feels very ordinary, albeit with multicoloured lancets.
I have to admit I haven’t purposefully done a lot of testing in regards to the accuracy, but the few times that I have it’s come up very close to the Guide. I’ve also tested on a few dusty fingers at work and the results have been very trustworthy. The readings match with how I am feeling, as well.
One area where the Contour Next One would really excel is by adding a bolus calculator to the app. I feel like I’m flogging a dead horse here in repeatedly saying that diabetes apps have no value for me without one!
Ascensia also expressed their vision of supporting interconnected diabetes management systems, and another area where their meter would excel is in capabilities to transmit blood glucose readings into insulin pumps.
All in all, it’s a really neat meter and I will most likely continue to use it. Ascensia are also offering free meters through their website here, if you wish to try it for yourself.
Disclosures: Ascensia provided me with a Contour Next One meter at the Diabetes Social Media Summit I attended in August. I also accepted hospitalities during the event, details which can be found in this post. I have not been asked or paid to write this blog, and all thoughts expressed here are my own.