A while ago I promised you a review of my new Contour USB meter. This has taken me longer than I intended and by now it’s not so “new” anymore, but I do have some notes and pictures for you finally!
Before I start posting all of this, I want to address the fact that there is really no way for me to do this without showing you stats about my personal diabetes management. While that doesn’t freak me out as much as it would have in the past, it does still make me a bit nervous. I do ask that you try to focus on the format and the meter-related specifics and not on my numbers. Please don’t compare me to you, and please don’t compare yourself to me. We’re each fighting our own battle to control this thing!
First of all, I have to say that I love this meter! Prior to getting the USB, I was using the OneTouch UltraSmart. I was very happy with that meter, especially with all of it’s available statistics (because I’m a math nerd and a micro-manager), but I really didn’t like the CareLink software for uploading or viewing reports. Plus, small as the UltraSmart is, the thought of something even less bulky was definitely appealing.
Enter the Contour USB Meter.
The USB is great because it’s small, it’s fast (5 seconds), and it has the data logging and statistical capabilities that I want without a bunch of extra stuff that I don’t need. Plus, it hooks right up to my computer and comes with its own user-friendly software to view and print reports for my own use or to share with my CDE or endo.
Here’s what it looks like:
Contour USB Meter
It comes with its own lancing device (the Microlet 2) that is depth-adjustable – a good feature for those of us with really calloused fingertips! I love the size of all this (which, I guess, is kind of hard to tell from this picture – sorry), but I’m honestly not a huge fan of the Microlet 2. It feels flimsy to me and I’m not holding my breath that it’ll last very long. I guess we’ll see. This may be a harsh premature judgment.
Every time you test, it asks you to label the test as either “before meal”, “after meal” or “no mark”. You can turn this feature off, but I’ve left it on because it lets me see your averages specific to “before meal” and “after meal”. It also lets you see your overall average – but it’s nice to have the option to break it down a bit. The average display then shows you how many of your tests have been in range, as well as above and below. The bloodsugar ranges on the meter are pre-set but you can adjust them if you prefer. I currently have mine on the pre-set ranges. This is what the average screens looks like:
Before Meal Average Screen
There is also a logbook that you can scroll through that looks like this:
When you test, the meter gives you the option of adding a “note” to the result – e.g. “Don’t feel right”, “sick”, “stress”, or “activity” – or setting a reminder to test again in a while. I don’t have any shots of these, mainly because I don’t use them often.
When you use the software (called GlucoFacts), you have the option of viewing/printing your logbook or a variety of charts/graphs. If I were to post a full screenshot of these charts you wouldn’t be able to read anything on them, so I’ll just include some small sections of them for examples.
The logbook is my least favourite, because it isn’t as chronological as I’d like. It breaks the day into chunks of time (which you can customize) – e.g. “Early AM”, “Morning”, etc. – and in each chunk of time, your results are lumped into the categories of “Before Meal”, “After Meal” and “No Mark”, based on how you tagged them. I find this view really difficult and not very informative, but maybe that’s just me. Here’s an example:
The Logbook page also includes a Data Analysis that breaks down some statistics for you in each category shown above. The nice thing about both the Logbook and it’s Data Analysis is that it colour codes your problem areas. Here’s an example of the Data Analysis:
Logbook Data Analysis Excerpt
The next chart is the Trend chart. It’s meant to give you an idea of where you’re trending (obviously, right?) in terms of readings in or out of range over the course of a number of days. Here’s an excerpt:
Trend Chart Excerpt
Next is the Standard Day Chart. I like this one because it lets you see where the problem areas typically are in a day. It also has a Data Analysis that breaks down a number of interesting statistics. This is what the Chart and Analysis look like:
Standard Day Chart Excerpt
Standard Day Data Analysis Excerpt
The Standard Week Chart is similar, but lets you see what your weeks look like rather than your days. I don’t find this one as useful because most of my days are pretty similar. I suppose it would be helpful, though, to analyze the difference between weekdays and weekends, or if you had some sort of athletic event every Wednesday or something like that. It would probably come in handy for some folks. As with the other charts, this one also comes with a Data Analysis. I’ve only included an example of the chart:
Standard Week Chart Excerpt
Finally, the Summary Chart and Data Analysis give you an idea of how you’re doing overall. I’d say this is my favourite chart and analysis. This is what they look like:
Summary Chart Excerpt
Summary Data Analysis Excerpt
As a side note, when I was looking at these analyses to post here, I notice that the above analysis shows that I do an average of 8.3 tests per day. I am a huge micro-manager, so this surprised me. I thought, “Wow! I’m doing better at being less obsessive about this!” But then I realized that the data includes a large number of days during which I didn’t use the USB meter at all because I was finishing up my OneTouch test strips. Oops. I guess I”m still obsessive!
I also noticed that the day I’ve chosen for an excerpt was a pretty volatile day with readings in the 2s and in the 16s! I’m usually in much tighter control, I swear! (But you’re not supposed to be focused on that anyway, remember!)
Lastly, I haven’t done much saving or printing of these reports, but I did notice that the option to save to PDF format makes for a really big file with a lot of pages. There may be a way to adjust this, but I haven’t explored it yet. I would definitely advise only saving/printing the reports you expect to use, rather than doing the full conversion of all the reports to a PDF.
Anyway, like I said, I’m really happy with this new meter! I hope the above information is helpful, or at least a bit interesting! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me! Or if you have any comments on your experience with the meter, I’d love to hear them!