If you, or someone you know lives with diabetes – almost 2 million Canadians do – you can relate to the daily challenges Emily Milko faces.
“I’m constantly monitoring my blood sugar. I test probably 5-10 times a day.”
Like other blood glucose test kits on the market, the iBGStar uses a tiny blood sample and strips for users to test their blood glucose levels. It was launched in the UK earlier this month, and is now available in Canada.
About the size of the old iPod must-have, the iTrip, the iBGStar is a spinoff of Sanofi’s BGStar, but capitalizes on the exponentially growing user base of iOS devices.
“Where the iPhone is better, is to show trend graphs, how you should adjust your exercise, diet, and share your data,” says Ron Szekely, Customer Strategy and Innovation Manager at Sanofi.
The iPad is supported, but the app is not made specifically for it. (The app does the ‘stretch’ trick iPad Facebook Messenger users currently face.)
What sets the iBGStar and StarSystem apart from its competitors is the quick and easy access to a support network that spans greater than their friends, family and family doctor.
“I was 11 when I was diagnosed with diabetes,” says Milko, 20, a student at McMaster University, in Hamilton, ONT.
“But this system would have definitely helped my parents. There is so much information out there and it’s hard to navigate through it all.”
“The StarSystem provides education on key aspects of life with diabetes and managing blood glucose,” says Szekely.
Milko has an iPod Touch, but she does plan to get an iPhone, as the iBGStar’s ability to show historical data of her blood-sugar levels in chart and graph form really helps curb her sugar and carbohydrate intake.
The iBGStar kit is half the size of her current kit.
“Diabetes is always with you,” says Milko. “My tester is always on me. It’s not compact.”
Sanofi does say that BG-Star users get access to the same support system as the iBG-Star through the StarSytem’s coaching sessions.
When purchasing the iBG-Star, users get access to nurses and experts through one-on-one health coaching by phone, and six months of unlimited online support through their starsystem.sanofi.ca website.
“If you live in British Columbia, you will have access to a health coach in British Columbia,” says Szekely. “They help you build a plan to better manage your health.”
While the iBGStar’s price, $65, might seem pretty steep for an attachment, the iBGStar is definitely useful for diabetics that like referring to dynamic, historical records at their fingertips.
For now, the iBGStar (and the app) is now available only through Sanofi’s website. Canadians exclusively get access to the StarSystem, with plans to roll out to the United States and other countries in the near future.
Michael Chu attended the media event launch of the iBGStar for iPhoneinCanada.ca