Most blood glucose meters are either pretty basic and inexpensive or offer lots of features at considerable cost. But one meter comes with a low price tag and yet does more than any other.
For those of us who have limited vision or are blind this meter is a godsend. It is the second generation Solus V2 meter from BioSense Medical Devices in Duluth, Georgia.
I reviewed its predecessor, the Solo V2, three years ago at "A New Talking Meter." BioSense changed the name slightly and improved a fine meter even more. The V2 in the name of both the original and new meter refers to vision and voice, not version. In fact, however the Solus V2 is also the second version of the talking blood glucose meter from BioSense.
Chris Gwaltney, the managing partner of BioSense, sent me the Solus V2 for my testing and review. He tells me that the suggested retail price of the meter is $14.99, and a vial of 50 strips goes for $19.99.
BioSense currently sells the Solo V2 primarily through home medical supply companies and online retailers. Chris told the National Federation of the Blind in correspondence that the NFB put online at "Medicare and Solus V2" that it picked seven companies "to partner with in the new Medicare market." These are companies that operate "in a patient-first manner."
This limited availability is actually the biggest problem that I have been able to identify with the Solus V2. This is what has stopped Mike Freeman, the president of the Diabetes Action Network, a division of the National Federation of the Blind, from using the Solus V2 himself.
Chris and Mike tell me that they worked together to develop the meter’s feature set. Mike asked for an audible prompt telling which setting the meter is set for when it’s in setting mode. He also suggested that when you recall the memory, the meter will audibly recall both the date and time, while the earlier Solo meter only recalled the date.
"I like the Solus V2," Mike told me. "I was impressed enough with it that I would use it again."
He’s not using it now simply because the pharmacy that works with his preferred provider doesn’t carry the test strips that the Solus V2 uses. Instead, Mike uses the Prodigy Voice that "still works fairly well."
Comparing those two meters for people with impaired vision, Mike says that the Solus V2 is a little smaller and has "a nice metal case, and I can’t get the importance of that across to the Prodigy people. The buttons of the Prodigy Voice are too easy to push when it’s in your pocket."
I’m tempted to list all the features of the Solus V2, but that would be overwhelming. BioSense summarizes them nicely at "A Fully Audible Talking Meter" and shows the meter’s specifications in a PDF.
BioSense has also launched an online diabetes management tool called MyMeterLink to serve as a gateway to connecting physicians and product suppliers to their patient’s test results. This tool should help to promote more testing and better diabetes management. Mike Freeman from the NFB says that this interactive website is perfect accessible to people who are blind.
In the three years since I reviewed the predecessor of the Solus V2, no new fully audible meters have been brought to market. Arkray launched a talking meter, but it’s a copy of the Omnis Embrace (Apex in Taiwan makes both of them). Neither are fully audible meters. The new Solus V2 is worth the wait.
David Mendosa is a journalist who learned in 1994 that he has type 2 diabetes, which he now writes about exclusively. He has written thousands of diabetes articles, two books about it, created one of the first diabetes websites, and publishes the monthly newsletter, “Diabetes Update.” His very low-carbohydrate diet, current A1C level of 5.3, and BMI of 19.8 keep his diabetes in remission without any drugs. He can be found on Twitter @davidmendosa and on Facebook at David Mendosa.