7 diabetes apps for your smartphone
The health care industry has started to embrace smartphones and mainstream consumer technology. Long gone are the days of tracking blood sugars and insulin doses with a pad and paper. Instead, our smartphones have become do-it-all management systems.
Here is a list of diabetes apps designed for iPhone or Android phones and other smart gadgets, listed in alphabetical order. These might be worth checking out because of technical innovations, usability or other features. Information on product pricing and availability is from April 2013, so please see company websites for updates.
Diabetes apps worth checking out
1. Diabetes Pal: From Telcare, Inc., this app works with the company's meter or can also be used as a standalone tracking app. It offers the basic tracking categories such as blood sugars, food and medications, and can synchronize automatically to MyTelcare.com, which allows for desktop access from your computer. There are a number of ways to view your data, including customizable charts and graphs. An interesting feature is the ability to set and track personalized goals, like testing your blood sugar a certain number of times per day. Details:
- Platform: Both iPhone and Android
- Cost: Free
- Website: www.telcare.com
2. Glooko: Glooko, Inc. has created an iPhone app that can download from blood glucose meters directly into the app. (You need to purchase the appropriate cable for your meter.) The website reports compatibility with 17 meters in the U.S. and 19 worldwide. Even without the cable and downloading capabilities, you can still use this as a tracking app. It includes a food database to help you find nutritional information. You can add notes to entries about blood sugar readings and insulin, or send reports in PDF or CSV formats. Details:
- Platform: iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad); Android version reportedly en route
- Cost: App is free, cable is $39.95 (additional $14.95 adapter for ACCU-CHEK meters)
- Website: www.glooko.com
3. Glucose Buddy: Now offered by Azumio, Glucose Buddy tracks blood sugar, carbohydrates, medications, activities and A1C results. All information can be uploaded to glucosebuddy.com for more detailed reporting and analysis. Upgrading to the Pro version adds tracking of blood pressure and body weight, and removes the ads. You also gain the ability to add entries on the website and have them synchronized back to the phone (two-way sync). Details:
- Platform: iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad) and Android
- Cost: Free (basic version), $6.99 (Pro version)
- Website: www.glucosebuddy.com
4. iBGStar: Sanofi-Aventis and AgaMatrix created the iBGStar line of meters. This app can automatically synchronize readings from the iBGStar meter if you have it, but you can also use it as a standalone blood sugar tracker. You can enter blood sugar information, carbohydrate grams and insulin doses. You can also add tags and short semi-customizable notes to each reading. The notes are not quite free-form text, which limits this feature a little bit. The app offers some basic graphing and the ability to share your records. The sharing feature sends a logbook including averages, total tests and standard deviation, but doesn't include the graphs. You may have to manipulate the data, which is in CSV format. Details:
- Platform: iOS (iPhone, iPod touch)
- Cost: Free
- Website: www.ibgstar.us
5. mySugr: This app is available for certain European countries and India, and a U.S. launch is anticipated. mySugr was created by a team based in Austria that started with two people living with type 1 diabetes. The main push is capturing the context around all the bits of information involved in diabetes management. The app leverages the iPhone's GPS to provide personal history, for example, details about the last time you ate at a particular restaurant and how that worked out. Attaching photographs and notes to each entry offers some background for the data. Perhaps the most entertaining part is caring for your "diabetes monster." This icon on your screen reacts to information you enter, so when you input a low blood sugar, the little guy rolls over on his side and says "OMG - Eat!"
- Platform: iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad); Android version reportedly in the works
- Cost: Fees not published for the U.S. (You can complete challenges to earn credits toward the Premium version, which has a monthly fee)
- Website: mysugr.com
6. RapidCalc: This app, from Gilport Enterprises of Australia, targets individuals doing multiple daily injections who are looking for the calculation capabilities that are available on most insulin pumps. This sophisticated insulin tracking system and dose calculator is combined with the traditional features of a logbook (statistics and graphing included). With all this information, the programming and setup for this app could seem a bit intense. That being said, there is no equal for being able to track insulin on board and do dose calculations without using an insulin pump. Details:
- Platform: iOS (iPhone, iPod, iPad)
- Cost: $7.99
- Website: www.gilport.com
7. SiDiary: Provided by SINOVO of Germany, SiDiary seems like a powerful diabetes tracking app. You might notice traces of the German language -- most noticeably on the splash screen during launch. Options for viewing your data include both overall statistics and results filtered by trending limits. You can pair the mobile version of SiDiary with the computer version to allow for two-way synchronization and more advanced reporting. The computer version can also download information from different diabetes devices (pumps, CGMs, meters, pedometers, blood pressure monitors), which can then be synchronized back to your mobile device. The setup and selection of all the various components might feel a bit complex.
- Platforms: iOS, Android and options for BlackBerry, Windows and Symbian phones
- Cost: $5.99 for iPhone; free for Android but there may be a cost for online sync
- Website: www.sinovo.net
Whether you're looking for diabetic apps for devices running iOS or Android, we hope we've helped you sort through the sea of choices. The marketplace is constantly evolving, so watch for updates to these technologies or any other new inventions to try. As smartphones become even more prevalent, we hope to see developers, people living with diabetes and health care professionals working together to build useful apps.