The new WaveSense Jazz meter is by far the best blood glucose meter I've ever used.
For years I have complained about the lack of accuracy of other meters. All the other meters also make it too difficult to tag our results to correspond with our meals, and most other meters still require that we code them to match a new vial of test strips. This new meter even includes two ways to calculate glycemic variability, which many people see as even more valuable than the A1C test. And much more.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the WaveSense Jazz in September. But this jazzy new meter does have one problem. It's not for sale yet.
The company that makes the meter, AgaMatrix Inc. in Salem, New Hampshire, sent me one of the first Jazz meters off the production line. It came with a bunch of test strips that I have been using. But I didn't even get a manual or the rest of the kit that we usually get with our new meters, because they aren't ready yet.
The company expects to have the Jazz on the market here in late summer or early fall, Stuart Blitz, AgaMatrix's senior manager for marketing told me.
When it's available, the Jazz will again raise the bar on accuracy. Until now, the WaveSense KeyNote was the most accurate meter with 85 percent of test results within 10 percent -- far and away better than any other meter. Now, for the Jazz, Stuart tells me that 91 percent of the results are within 10 percent.
While accuracy is a basic essential, the ability of the Jazz to determine our glycemic variability is a cutting edge refinement that I wasn't expecting. Some experts are beginning to argue that it's more important for us to measure our glycemic variability than our A1C. The A1C is an average that can hide wide variations in our blood glucose levels.
The Jazz meter will let you chose to measure your glycemic variability in two different ways. Stuart explained them to me.
"The first way is standard deviation within mealtimes, before and after," he told me. With the Jazz this is easy and another big step forward in meter design. But entering the correct time slot in terms of mealtime with any other meter is either a pain (requiring you to select from a number of choices in a menu) or impossible. The Jazz uses predictive mealtime tagging. For example, with the Jazz, if you are testing at 1 p.m., it will bring up "post-lunch." That will usually be correct, and you don't have to do anything. But if in fact you haven't had lunch yet, you just click on the up arrow, which will give you the "lunch" slot (press the up arrow one more time, and you will slot it to "post-breakfast)."
"The second way -- and it is not in the product that you have right now, because we are just finishing up the implementation -- is putting MAGE -- the mean amplitude of glucose excursions -- into the meter," Stuart continued. "MAGE measures the amplitude of the readings that you have that are outside of plus or minus one standard deviation from your mean. If you have a smaller MAGE, you are staying in tighter control. Dr. Barry Ginsberg, who was well known as Becton Dickinson's medical director until he retired last year, pushed for it. He is on our medical board and was the big proponent of adding MAGE."