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Glooko: the new digital logbook for diabetes

When I was pregnant with my first child in 1999, I kept my blood glucose records in a three ring binder. At every doctor's appointment, my diabetes educator gave me a blank spreadsheet to record my numbers. On the way home, I'd stop at Staples to make 25 blank copies, and then I put the copies into a binder labeled "Amy's Diabetes Logbook."

I would remove one blank spreadsheet, slip it into a laminated sleeve, and place it next to my "shot bag" on the kitchen counter. (For lack of a better term, my "shot bag" got its name when I was first diagnosed at 14 years old and included my diabetes supplies--syringe, glucose meter, bottle of test strips, etc. Each time I tested my blood sugar, I'd pull the spreadsheet out of the laminate cover, record the number, make any necessary notes in the tiniest handwriting, and slip it back in its protective cover until the next time I tested. The process was exhausting, and as soon as I gave birth, I stopped keeping score.

Without those records however, my doctor's appointments became a waste of time. I would sit in the doctor's office with the CDE as she tried to make decisions based on the foggy, sleep deprived memory of my new mom brain.

"How has your blood sugar been in the morning?" she'd ask and I would say, "pretty good." I'd make promises about keeping better records, but once I was back home juggling the baby, work and my blood sugars, I didn't have the time or the energy.

Today my boys are 11, 8 and 3 years old, and I am happy to report that the three ring binder has been recycled.

Glooko does all that hard work for me. Glooko, an electronic logbook, enables users to download blood glucose readings from their meter directly into an iPod Touch or iPhone.

The story behind Glooko

This innovative concept came from the desire to lessen the burden of diabetes. In June 2010, Yogen Dalal and Sundeep Madra came together to leverage their mobile and technology experience to create solutions to help people with diabetes live life, while effortlessly managing their disease. Both men have a personal connection to diabetes: Yogen is pre-diabetic and has family members with diabetes, and Sunny's wife has diabetes.

Glooko LogoGlooko is unique, says Glooko's Tracy DeMiroz, because they are the only company that can pull information without manual entry, which as we've seen from my experience, can be a deal breaker. Charts and graphing capabilities that allow for a deeper analysis of blood glucose trends are currently available in Europe and pending FDA approval, should be available in the US sometime in the next few months.

"Since launching in Nov 2011, we have been very energized by the reviews and feedback from our customers. People who previously kept a manual logbook are thrilled to be able to download their blood glucose readings directly from their meter to the Glooko Logbook app on their iPhone or iPad, says DeMiroz.

"They love how it saves them time and eliminates errors. We also hear from people who thought that they would never keep a logbook because of the overhead and hassle. We understand how important testing and logging is to taking control of diabetes, and these people who are logging for the first time are really inspiring us. As we innovate and make more features and products available, we look forward to continuing to help people with diabetes live life effortlessly while managing their diabetes."

Glucose meters compatible with Glooko

Glooko is working to make their cable compatible with Android phones, and while they are currently compatible with 11 glucose meters, the goal is to be compatible with all meters. Here is the list of compatible meters:

  1. Bayer Breeze
  2. Bayer Contour
  3. FreeStyle Freedom Lite
  4. Freestyle Lite
  5. OneTouch Ultra2
  6. OneTouch UltraLink
  7. OneTouch UltraMini
  8. Accu-Chek Aviva
  9. Accu-Chek Aviva Nano
  10. Accu-Chek Compact Plus
  11. Accu-Chek Nano

Glooko features

Plug and play. To use, simply plug the Glooko MeterSync Cable into most standard self-monitoring blood glucose meters and sync to your iPod Touch or iPhone to create a digital logbook of readings. It's easy to review daily blood sugar levels, annotate them and share the results with a physician.

Downloadable results. You can save time and eliminate errors from manual entry by conveniently downloading your blood glucose readings from your meter into your iPhone. All of the readings downloaded are included in your Logbook so you can observe your blood glucose trends during different periods of the day.

Create notes. You can easily create a note to track your carb intake, insulin dose, activity level and how you are feeling. Every note you create is included in your history so you can observe what is happening relative to your blood glucose readings.

Share results. Share a summary of your logbook with your healthcare professional. Fax, email, print, and/or view as a PDF.

Nutritional search feature. Search for nutritional information of foods at any time or create a new note to keep track of carb intake.

Create inclusive records. You can create a consolidated record of all of the data in your Glooko Logbook, which includes your blood glucose readings, meal tags, carbs, insulin, and comments -- organized by time and date.

I've been using the Glooko logbook on and off for the last month, and the feature I enjoy the most is the notes feature. I can make notes about being sick, about taking too much insulin, about eating fewer carbs than I'd planned and more. This feature eliminates the days of guess-work in the doctor's office when my endocrinologist is asking: "Now, why were you high on this day?" I also like the idea that I can send this to my doctor ahead of time and she can review it before, not during, my appointment, saving us precious time.

As with all forms of technology, you only get out what you put in, and the same is true for Glooko. I'd like to think I will continue to use this tool in the midst of my busy life, but I also know the challenge of staying organized. That said, Glooko offers me a peace of mind knowing that when my blood sugars are out of whack, all I have to do is plug in the cable to analyze my data. If I can't figure it out on my own, I can email the numbers to my doctor and together, we can come up with some answers.

The more information I have, the easier it is for me to maintain good health.

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About Amy Stockwell Mercer

Amy Stockwell Mercer is a freelance writer living in Charleston, SC with her husband and three young sons. Her book, The Smart Woman's Guide to Diabetes, Authentic Advice on Everything from Eating to Dating and Motherhood, was published by Demos Health in 2010 and the follow up, The Smart Woman's Guide to Eating Right with Diabetes, What Will Work, will be published in the fall of 2012.

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