Friday 17 June 2016

Dario: The changing face of home glucose testing

I have a confession; for the last few months I have wanted nothing less than to engage with my diabetes.  Burnt out from having a baby and managing thyroid issues on top of diabetes, I've retreated completely to the land of head-burying.  CGM sensors have been stacking up in my paraphernalia cupboard, and my transmitter is lost somewhere in North Wales following a holiday where diabetes was ignored to an impressive extent.  As diabetes week appeared on the horizon I had nothing to say, and thought it had nothing I wanted to pay attention to. Or so I thought, until along came Dario.
I was contacted by Dario about their glucose meter and asked to review it.  I agreed, aware that diabetes week was a great deadline to have my thoughts on paper.  Little did I know that inspecting their device would lead to testing more regularly and a hugely positive SHOVE back into the land of looking after myself - slowly, but surely.
So here is the detail.
The Meter
The Dario glucose meter is a palm-sized device which turns your smart phone into a glucose meter*.  Everything needed for the test - strips, pricker and smart-phone adapter - are all contained in the stylish case, which fits comfortably in my handbag giant baby-sack.  This works alongside the Dario app which can be downloaded from your smart phone app store. You can buy the meter from Advanced Therapeutics for £14.95, or ma be able to get one via your diabetes team if they stock them.  The test strips are also NHS approved.
The App
The Dario app is ridiculously pleasing to use. Rather than the typical 3, 2, 1 countdown, the six-second test shows on the screen in a buffering-style circle, which makes it somehow less ominous than the dreaded countdown.  This might sound ridiculously tiny as a detail (I mean seriously it is), but the first time I used it I was surprised at how pleasing the on-screen detail is.  Even my husband who has no preferences whatsoever when it comes to anything diabetes, perked up and agreed how the design was aesthetically a little bit of a treat (is it totally weird, the things we 'like' about our technology?).  The App itself is self-explanatory in use and has some great features like the ability to log food (fairly standard these days) and exercise (something I missed enormously when One-Touch removed that function from their testers) and a handy counter for hypos and hypers along with the usual average glucose range.  All-in-all, a job well done.
The good
Self-contained and all-in-one, this meter does what other smart phone-compatible testers have, in my opinion, not done so well.  It is sleek and convenient, and small.
The app is very well designed and extremely easy to use.  I didn't even bother with the manual as the kit was so easy to use.
The size makes this a really good bit of kit for a mother who is already weighed down carrying god-knows-what for my bundle of joy.
The bad
As a fumbling-bumbling-mum-of-one I often forget to charge my phone.  It's just not really been a priority for the last eight months and I have, on a regular basis, found myself without any battery.  If this happens, the meter is (very obviously) useless.  This only happened to me once while I was testing the device, but it was while I was out and about with my daughter, and I was due to start driving which in the UK comes with a strict caveat that we test before driving.  Luckily I was still packing my other meter so was able to test.  My advice?  If you think this is the meter for you, carry a spare charger for the car. 
The only other negative for me was that I use Diasend regularly to share my data with my diabetes team.  I have not found a way to share my Dario data (if you know how, please drop me a line to and for me this is a really key feature and I would love to see Dario introduce this as a feature.  If they did that, along with a spare car charger would make this meter perfect.
Would I use this meter?
Absolutely, yes.  It is a space-saving well thought out device and a pleasure to use.  My new-mum clumsiness mean I may stick to my regular battery-powered meter until I can get my Megan Trainor on and be sure that I have all the right chargers in all the right places, but this is a really good device.
Drop me a line and let me know what you think if you decide to give it a go. Happy Dario-ing!
*Boring fine-print - available for iPhone: OS 6.1 or higher: iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5S, 5C, 6, 6 Plus; iPod touch 3rd & 4th generations; iPad 2, 3 and iPad mini; iPad with Retina display Android (OS 4.1.2 or higher): Samsung Galaxy S2, S3, S4, S5; Samsung Galaxy Note 2, 3; LG/Google Nexus 5