LifeScan Launches Bluetooth-Enabled OneTouch Verio Flex Meter
New OneTouch Reveal app works with Apple and Android phones. Plus, a future partnership to integrate WellDoc’s FDA-approved BlueStar software.
J&J/LifeScan recently announced the US launch of its new Bluetooth-enabled OneTouch Verio Flex blood glucose meter. The device has built-in Bluetooth and pairs with an updated OneTouch Reveal app, which now works with Apple Health and Android phones. The meter is already available online, coming soon to pharmacies, and priced at a reasonable $19.99. It uses LifeScan’s accurate Verio test strips. The updated OneTouch Reveal app is available for free on Apple and Android devices, and like its predecessor, includes automatic high and low pattern recognition. The previous OneTouch meter with Bluetooth, the VerioSync, has now been discontinued.
Aside from Bluetooth connectivity and a smaller size compared to the Sync, the Flex is on the basic side in terms of on-device features. LifeScan plans to add functionality to the app over time, including plans to integrate WellDoc’s FDA-approved BlueStar software for type 2 diabetes. More details on the meter, app, and WellDoc integration are below!
Flex Meter Highlights
“ColorSure” technology: for every glucose reading, the meter displays an arrow that points to a colored bar to indicate whether the reading is low (blue), in-range (green), or high (red). The cutoffs for these ranges can be customized. This feature aims to help users quickly interpret their numbers – see photo for reference!
Android compatibility: the previous VerioSync meter was only Apple-compatible.
Apple Health integration: data from the Flex can now be synced with Apple’s Health app, making it the second major branded meter to do so (the other is Roche’s Accu-Chek Connect, which also recently added compatibility). For patients using these connected meters, Apple Health brings zero-hassle blood glucose data transfer to other popular apps (e.g., mySugr, Glooko, Meal Memory, and One Drop). This advance is important for at least three reasons: (i) no manual patient entry (yes!); (ii) more comprehensive data displays (blood glucose, exercise, and food); and (iii) potential to send data automatically into electronic medical records like EPIC, alerting a provider if some patients are at risk of severe events.
No charging necessary: unlike the VerioSync, which required a ~two-hour charge via USB, the Flex runs on a “coin battery” which lasts for several months.
Flex Meter Drawbacks
The Flex’s low cost is certainly one of its greatest benefits, though LifeScan did have to make a few trade-offs in terms of design features. The drawbacks of the Flex include:
Black and white screen: similar to the VerioSync, the Flex meter has a black and white display. Compared to the VerioSync, however, the Flex display is not as bright and harder to see in the dark.
No light in the test strip port: while adding a coin-cell battery eliminates the need to charge the meter, it unfortunately meant removing the light within the test strip port. This is a downside for testing in the dark, particularly because the Verio strips are easy to put in upside down.
OneTouch Reveal App Highlights
Same excellent user interface we liked after testing the VerioSync, including % of tests in-range, low, and high, average number of tests per day, and a color-coded logbook that stores a full year of glucose readings.
Automatic high and low pattern recognition: This useful feature automatically identifies periods of the day with repeated episodes of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia (“Your blood sugar has been low between 6 AM and 9 AM on the past two days.”). Clicking on a pattern gives a deeper dive into the readings that triggered its identification. It first debuted in the Verio IQ four years ago (see our test drive from 2012), and we hope future versions can give even more powerful advice (“Reduce your early morning basal insulin”).
Future WellDoc BlueStar Integration
WellDoc and J&J recently announced a new partnership to integrate the OneTouch Flex meter and Reveal app with WellDoc’s FDA-approved BlueStar software for type 2 diabetes. BlueStar is currently available as an app and on the web by prescription only, offering patients real-time coaching, educational videos, motivation, and tools like a carb counter and “Yelp-like” feature to find nearby diabetes-friendly menu items. Right now, BlueStar users have to manually enter their blood glucose values into the app, which adds hassle and room for error; this integration will make that entry automatic.
The companies have not shared specific timing on the integration, but we assume a launch in various steps could happen over the next year. The first integration will likely use the apps side-by-side: the Flex’s built-in Bluetooth will send data to the Reveal app, which will relay that data to the BlueStar app. Future integrations might be more direct, with a single app that receives the Flex data and gives patients feedback.
What we like about BlueStar is the move away from basic historical pattern recognition into real-time, actionable, individualized feedback. We hope J&J’s expertise can bring BlueStar to many more people with type 2 diabetes – the software is only available in the Mid-Atlantic US right now, with just over 10,000 prescriptions written to date. -AJW/AB