I’m an excited little chicken this week! You see, I’ve been playing with a new diabetes gadget. It’s actually an iDiabetesGadget. Yes, my iPhone has become an iBloodGlucoseMeter and I couldn’t be iHappier.

Many of you will have already heard about the iBGStar. This nifty little device was launched in the US earlier in the year and social media exploded with reviews, raves and excitement.

The meter is tiny – about the size of my pinky finger, to be exact. And it weighs next-to-nothing. It plugs into the bottom of an iPhone, and using the app (available now, free from the App Store) works as a BG meter. Or, use it without your phone and it works as a stand-alone teeny-tiny meter (and then downloads the results to the app the next time you connect the meter to your phone).

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The pinky-sized iBGStar on a pink background.

I am all for new gadgets. I believe that they inject (urgh!) a level of interest and increased focus in diabetes and that can only be good. This week, I’ve been checking my BGLs far more that I had been leading up to getting the iBGStar and have even managed to iron-out some post-meal highs.

And of course, there’s been lots of interest in the device from others with diabetes. There were oohs and aahs aplenty when I walked around the office showing off my new toy. It’s always amusing to hear grown people shouting ‘Get out!’ or ‘No way’ when shown something new!

What I wasn’t prepared for was the response from complete strangers. ‘That looks pretty high-tech’, a waiter in a cafe said as I stabbed my finger and checked my BGL. ‘Oh-it’s-a-BGL-meter-it’s-brand-new-I-think-this-is-the-first-one-in-the-country-I-have-an-app-on-my-iPhone-isn’t-it-brilliant-isn’t-it-isn’t-it?? His eyes kind of glazed over, but he smiled indulgently and said ‘That’s great’.

It wasn’t the first time. I’ve been stopped a couple of times in cafes (I spend a lot of time drinking coffee). One guy said ‘I want one! Where can I get one?’ He doesn’t have diabetes; he just thought it was cool.

The hype is one thing, but I’m pleased to say the device delivers on accuracy. I’ve done several side-by-side comparisons and the comparisons are good.

OK – so, clearly I love this meter and I’ve been telling anyone who cares to listen – and many who really don’t. But there’s something I love even more than the meter itself. And that is the way the meter is being promoted.

For the first time that I am aware, a new meter is being distributed to people with diabetes who are active on social media as part of its marketing strategy. I think that’s really smart Why? Well, because we like to talk. And tweet. And blog.

We are a little behind the times in Australia when it comes to using consumers (PWD or patients – whatever you prefer) to do some PR. I am not saying we sell our souls to do the work of the marketing divisions of device companies. We’re not doing that at all.

I have always been a little confused at why consumers are the last people to get their hands on a device rather than the first. I have never chosen a BGL meter or insulin pump based purely on advice from a HCP. Of course I want to hear their opinions. But really, I want to speak with people who are holding these things every day. The people who are wearing them. The people who are making decisions on how much insulin to inject into their bodies.

Surely it makes sense to have consumers involved in marketing strategies for new devices? Actually, surely it makes sense to have consumers involved in the development stage for new devices.

So – it’s after lunch and I’m going to check my BGL. On my phone. How freaking gadget girl is that?!?!

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Gadget girl!

DISCLAIMER: The iBGStar is distributed in Australia by Sanofi. The folks at Sanofi sent me a meter and strips for free. There was no expectation that I would like it, love it or write about it here. (Although they knew how excited I was about the device appearing in Australia because I’ve been tweeting about it since the US launch.)

The iBGStar will be launched here in Australia in the next couple of months – official word is in the Springtime.

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