Diabetes app: smartphone scan set to replace finger-prick test

Now diabetics can check their blood sugar levels with a smartphone app.
Now diabetics can check their blood sugar levels with a smartphone app.

DIABETICS needing to check their blood glucose levels can now use a “game-changing” mobile phone app, which does away with the routine finger-prick test. 

When downloaded onto a compatible smartphone, users of the FreeStyle LibreLink app can simply wave their phone over a sensor on their arm to get a real-time glucose level reading.

The reading provides eight hours’ worth of blood sugar levels, giving users the opportunity to monitor and adjust their intake of food or insulin.

Previously, diabetics who used the FreeStyle Libre system could only use the separate FreeStyle Libre reader – a $95 handheld device that scans the linked sensor to get the results. 

Australia is the first country outside Europe where the app, launched in early June, is available.

Port Melbourne man Simon Savage said being able to check his blood glucose levels with his phone was a “complete game-changer”.

“As an avid long-distance kite surfer, it means I can now check my blood glucose levels with my waterproof phone,” he said.

“Pairing a phone and reader together will also mean I have a backup if I lose or misplace either. And consistently regular uploads of data to my profile will mean that I check my weekly trends more easily and regularly.”

Welcoming the technology, Diabetes Australia’s Renza Scibilia, who has type 1 diabetes, said the system is an easy and convenient.

"If you've lived with type 1 diabetes for many years, your fingers can become hard and calloused, which can make it harder to do the finger-prick checks,” she said.

“These people could really benefit from FreeStyle Libre."

Diabetes Australia chief executive Professor Greg Johnson said the organisation wants to make it easier for people to better self-manage their diabetes, helping to reduce diabetes-related complications.

“Glucose monitoring is one of the most intrusive parts of living with diabetes,” Dr Johnson said.

“Integrating diabetes management tools into mobile phone technologies is another advancement that will reduce the burden of people living with diabetes.”

App users also have the option to share their information digitally, using the internet, with their GP or healthcare provider.

The small water-resistant sensor can be worn on the back of the upper arm. While the app is free to download from the App Store or Google Play, the sensor needs to be replaced after 14 days and costs $92.50.

This article first appeared on www.thesenior.com.au