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NEW YORK The business of blood glucose meters has always been a business of “what will they think of next?” When people with diabetes didn’t aggressively test because of the painful, daily pin pricks of their fingertips, manufacturers secured approval for alternate site testing. Manufacturers also developed no-coding meters to eliminate any errors in testing that may have resulted from miscoded testing strips, when that was identified as a potential interface issue.
And when the diagnosis of diabetes continued its steady northward climb, and the corresponding average age of the diabetic continued to drop, manufacturers began introducing smaller, inconspicuous meters or meters that incorporated a touch of individualized style.
All product differentiators designed to improve compliance and accuracy of testing.
But the chronic disease-state management tools that are coming out now — Home Diagnostics’ TRUEmanager diabetes management software today, LifeScan and Apple’s diabetes management prototype software announced in April and A&D Medical’s LifeSource wireless automatic blood pressure monitor shipped in December 2008 (it’s not just diabetes management) — all appear to pave the way toward a new, more comprehensive mode of managing chronic disease.
On the outset, that likely would translate into improved compliance, which means more test-strip sales and an increase in frequency visits around the coveted market-basket that diabetics carry. But, perhaps more importantly, as these diabetes management software programs featuring remote patient monitoring proliferates, it also may provide a new and very visible role for the pharmacist. With such programs as these, the role of the pharmacist has the potential to evolve from medicinal gatekeeper and quality assurance specialist to that of healthcare coach.