A is for Accuracy

by David Mendosa Patient Advocate

When we talk about blood glucose meter specs, we usually consider how fast the meter is and the sample size. That's because few meters have any accuracy worth talking about.

But one small company concentrates on accuracy. And this company, in Salem, New Hampshire, just came out with a new meter that I think will blow away the competition.

Last month AgaMatrix introduced its WaveSense KeyNote meter. Similar to its first generation Wave 1 meter, which I reviewed here a year ago, the KeyNote has several advantages. The big one, I think, is that the KeyNote meter is generally available, while only distributes the Wave 1.

The KeyNote takes only 3 seconds, which AgaMatrix only claimed 4 seconds for the Wave 1. That's no big deal, but it is faster than any other meter. Both the KeyNote and the Wave 1 meters take a miniscule 0.5 microliter of blood. Only Abbott's FreeStyle meters take less, 0.3 microliters.

"World class accuracy" is the first claim on the AgaMatrix website. The company bases its bragging rights on what it calls WaveSense Dynamic Electrochemistry. Chairman Sonny Vu explained his invention to me when we lunched together a year ago. Basically, it extracts a spectrum of information that traditional static electrochemical methods can't. This new technology corrects for temperature, altitude, hematocrit, and test strip manufacturing variations.

No other meter manufacturer ever gave me as much accuracy data as AgaMatrix. Compared with Abbott's FreeStyle Flash, Bayer's Ascensia Contour, and LifeScan's OneTouch Ultra, the Keynote bests the competition, particularly at the most critical level, below 75 mg/dl (4.2 mmol/l).

That's a good sample of one meter from each of the big meter companies - with one exception. Strangely, there's no Roche Accu-Chek meter in the bunch.

Since both the KeyNote and the Aviva use such a tiny drop of blood, I only had to lance my finger once to get enough for two test strips. Every time the results were spot on. Never more than one solitary point difference.

So the Aviva is certainly accurate. But lately there have been several times when I was sure that it was 20 or 30 points too high. When I tested again, sure enough my readings were that much lower.

So I intend to retire my Aviva, much as I prefer its hourglass shape. I especially like the Aviva test strips, which are sizeable and easy to handle. For now at least it's the Keynote for me.

If you want your KeyNote, Advanced Diabetes Supply already has it. I talked about it this morning with Tim Cady, the president of Advanced Diabetes Supply a division of North Coast Medical Supply in San Diego.

Tim told me that you can get a vial of 50 test strips for $38.50 from his company. They don't charge for the meter. He didn't have to look it up on any price list, he said, because that's his prices for every brand.

Not every meter has data management software and in fact few people use it. But it is certainly a sign of AgaMatrix professionalism that it introduced what it calls the Zero-Click blood glucose data management system for the KeyNote meter right out of the starting gate.

With great reluctance I installed the program. My reluctance was that Zero-Click runs on only a Windows computer, and I use mine only in the direst emergencies, much preferring to use one of my Macs.

The program installed flawlessly, something that I don't take for granted on my old PC any more. Zero-Click looks great, but I can't say that I put it through its paces, because you can't get me to use that old computer to test even the best software.

Maybe you don't care all that much about tracking your numbers on your computer. But my guess is that you would really like to know what your blood glucose levels are as you test. If so, you might well want to consider a KeyNote in your near future.

David Mendosa
Meet Our Writer
David Mendosa

David Mendosa was a journalist who learned in 1994 that he had type 2 diabetes, which he wrote about exclusively. He died in May 2017 after a short illness unrelated to diabetes. He wrote thousands of diabetes articles, two books about it, created one of the first diabetes websites, and published a monthly newsletter, “Diabetes Update.” His very low-carbohydrate diet, A1C level of 5.3, and BMI of 19.8 kept his diabetes in remission without any drugs until his death.