Glucose Meters and Strips—How Accurate?

As part of our education as newbies, we’ve been delving into some of the excellent diabetes blogs out there. And we found an interesting item in Diabetes Mine, posted by MikeH, about an upcoming meeting of endocrinologists, diabetes specialists, and patient advocates, on Capitol Hill in late September.

Participants will discuss legislation involving, among other things, the accuracy of blood glucose meters and test strips.

Diabetes Mine links to a businesswire news release:

“The blood glucose monitoring initiative will be uniquely structured to gather input from all major stakeholders involved in the diabetes arena and will examine critical factors such as regulatory challenges, post-FDA-approval monitoring of safety and accuracy of glucose strips, glucose sensors and devices, patient access and economic/reimbursement issues.”

We’ve had some doubts about the accuracy of meters and test strips, having watched the results of our daughter’s testing effort some time ago. So the Diabetes Mine posting propted us to do some additional digging, and we found more information in the same highly rated blog. This item, written by guest poster Riva Greenberg, is a few years old, but the information probably is still apt.

Riva interviewed several MDs and Chief Medical Officers at meter manufacturers, and shares what she learned, listing many factors that affect the accuracy of readings. “The biggest contributor to inaccuracy is the strips,” she comments, noting that according to an expert she interviewed, the best we can probably expect “a meter to ever produce is plus/minus 8% accuracy.”

We hope that the September meeting on Capitol Hill is successful, so that patients will have more confidence in what their meters and test strips tell them about their blood glucose control.

The legislation, known as the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act (H.R. 1074/S. 539), would create a 3-year Diabetes Clinical Care Commission to improve clinical outcomes for diabetes and prediabetes. Major organizations such as the American Diabetes Association and the Endocrine Society have endorsed the legislation, which needs to be passed before December 31. The consensus conference will be held September 29, 2014.