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A New Kind of Blood Glucose Monitor | POGO Automatic Meter

4 Minute Read

The POGO Automatic was the first automatic blood glucose monitor to be cleared by the FDA. The device allows you to check glucose levels in one step without needing to carry around lancets or test strips.

Blood glucose meters have come a long way in terms of simplicity, cost, design, and integration with mobile apps. However, the technology and process of taking a measurement have remained relatively constant in recent years. The first automatic meter, the POGO Automatic, represents one big innovation in blood glucose monitoring.

The device was cleared by the FDA in 2016 for those 13 years and up. Soon after, its maker Intuity Medical, went to work ramping up production. The POGO Automatic is now available for purchase over-the-counter in the U.S. at Walgreens stores (country-wide), CVS pharmacies (in select regions), or online here. You can also get the POGO Automatic with a prescription from your healthcare team (you will need to purchase the device and test cartridges separately). 

How does the POGO Automatic meter work?

The POGO Automatic is designed to simplify the process of checking your blood glucose. It also reduces the number of supplies needed. Before using it, a POGO Automatic 10-test cartridge needs to be loaded into the monitor. Once this is done, the only supplies you have to carry around is the monitor itself – no lancets, no test strips.

To use it, all you need to do is place a finger on the button in the center of the device. The monitor will automatically lance, collect blood, and produce a glucose value four seconds later. After the test, the device automatically retracts the lancet and test strip and sets up a new one for the next glucose check.

You can view your glucose value on the monitor itself, or via the free Patterns app (available on iOS and Android), which connects the device to your smartphone through Bluetooth. Though you do not need the app to see your glucose values, it allows users to view glucose trends and share data with their healthcare team using the Patterns healthcare provider portal. The Patterns app can also integrate glucose data with a variety of other wellness devices and apps

The POGO Automatic may encourage people to check their glucose more often by alleviating barriers to frequent testing; the device is discrete, consolidates the process into one step, and reduces the number of supplies you have to carry around.

POGO Automatic reviews

“I was cautiously optimistic about the potential of the POGO Automatic all-in-one blood glucose testing system,” said Ezra Ward-Packer, an extreme endurance athlete with type 1 diabetes who tested out this new device. 

“I loved the idea of having a self-contained testing system that I could easily store in a jersey pocket or my climbing pack, quickly pull out, and test without having to fumble around with a bottle of loose test strips and a separate lancet device,” he said.

However, as with most devices, what works for some may have drawbacks for others. Ward-Packard described having difficulty at times drawing enough blood using the built-in lancing device and test strip – especially given his calloused hands from years of cycling and climbing. In particular, he felt like not being able to control the strength of the lancet made it difficult to use.

“I love that the POGO Automatic is trying to make testing easier and more convenient, and for the right person it definitely will,” said Ward-Packard. “But for me, the device simply doesn't meet my needs at this time.”

The POGO device could benefit those who are looking to cut down on the number of supplies they carry and who have fingers that can be more easily pricked, without calluses or poor blood flow. Be sure to read the instruction manual, which provides detailed explanations for how to get the most out of the device.

How much is the POGO Automatic?

Online, the POGO Automatic monitor costs $69.99. Cartridges are sold separately, with a package of five (containing 10 tests each for a total of 50) costing $49.99, or $34.99 monthly if you subscribe. 

Whether the POGO Automatic is covered by insurance depends on your coverage, however, many private insurers will cover at least a portion of it. After getting a prescription from your healthcare provider (see here for steps on obtaining a prescription), you can expect to pay no more than $49.99 for up to 100 tests. This offer is not available for those on Medicaid or military programs like VA health care. 

The device wasn't available through Medicare until May 2024, when Intuity Medical announced it would be covered by Medicare Part B, opening the door for more older people living with diabetes to access diabetes tech.

To learn more about blood glucose meters check out our resource page here or read “Use Your Blood Glucose Meter to Help You Improve Your Health.