Diabetes Self-Management Blog

A few months ago, I was asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the new no-code WaveSense Jazz blood glucose monitoring system in one of my weekly blog entries. I said sure, why not. I mean, I’m not under any contractual obligation to review diabetes products, but the prospect of both free stuff and of getting to play with gadgets appeals to me.

WaveSense Jazz meter Because I’d be allowed to give a bare-bones honest assessment — just as long as I promised to run any overly negative reviews by a few people first — I figured I’d approach my WaveSense Jazz review bearing in mind what I’d like to see in a blood glucose meter…if, that is, I was in the market for something better. At the moment I’m using the rather utilitarian CoZmonitor blood glucose monitor that piggybacks on my Cozmo insulin pump.

However, because I’ll be switching pumps in a few years, there’s a chance that I’ll pick a new pump that doesn’t marry blood glucose meter to pump. If that’s the case, I would have to give the WaveSense Jazz some serious consideration.

I’m a sucker for slick packaging, and when I received my complimentary Jazz meter and several dozen test strips in the mail, I found the color scheme on the boxes appealing. Oh, I know, big deal, you say. Well, I was happy to see a test strip box that actually had a picture of the strip and the meter on the box. For once I didn’t immediately think “condoms” when looking at a box of strips, because I swear, my “Freestyle” test strips boxes just scream “box of condoms” when I see them sitting on a table or dresser.

And, before I even turned it on — the meter, the meter! — I was impressed with its size: It isn’t too small, but it’s also not large and unwieldy. About as thick as a sleek cell phone and able to sit easily on a credit card without overlapping any of the corners, it’s got great ergonomics for a blood glucose meter. (I want you to know this, because it looks really large on the box and when you look at pictures online.) It has a nice palm feel, with rubbery pads on the sides and nonskid feet on its back.

Also, even though I may not always be so diligent, I did open up the owner’s guide for the Jazz and read through it before operating the meter itself. The 62-page guide (English-only in the version I received) might seem daunting, but no one really reads through these things completely. If you choose to, however, it is a well-written, easy-to-follow, easy-to-understand little manual. Oh, and it’s in booklet form, so you’re not unfolding, and unfolding, and unfolding an onionskin-feeling, unappealing pamphlet.

The WaveSense Jazz meter itself was simple to set up and easy to calibrate with the control solution. And the actual tests use very little blood (the tiniest amount I’ve ever seen for a test, and it sucked the blood up quickly and provided me with fast results). The monitor, as well, is easy on the eyes with its large backlit (cheery blue) screen.

And no-code. People care about no-code. It’s a feature that seems to be a big deal for blood glucose meters — I see it pointed out in print and on TV advertisements a lot. I personally don’t find the dreaded coding of meters daunting. But then, when I get a supply of strips to last me for two or three months, they almost always all have the same code. I guess that if I was buying my test strips over-the-counter or if I was given a hodgepodge of code numbers, it could be irritating.

The meter has some features that I’ve not seen in several of the other meters I’ve tried. It allows you to tag your meals as pre- or postmeal, and in that way you can track your blood glucose at different times of day (which I know interests quite a few people out there). It also tracks your numbers in one month, two-week, and three-day trend graphs. So if you’re someone who’s vigilant about monitoring, and interested in glycemic variability, this system may be right up your alley. I mean, you can store up to 1,865 readings; that’s five tests a day for a year.

And while I seem to have gushed a bit over the WaveSense Jazz, I was less impressed with the case that it came with, as well as with the lancing device. I’m always on the lookout for a slick, small kit that holds a bottle of strips, the meter, and the lancing device (as well as someplace for a tissue and some extra lancets), that wears well, and that isn’t awkward. I have a difficult time finding one, and the kit that comes with the Jazz won’t halt my search. The clear plastic sleeve in which the meter sits can take away all of the cool ergonomics of the meter itself, not to mention that if the meter edges out of the sleeve a bit or shifts slightly, there’s not much room for inserting the test strip and you may end up trying several times to insert tab A into slot B (for those of you with vision problems, this could be frustrating).

Then there’s the lancing device, which is just the normal crossbow-style device that I find either too painful or unable to penetrate the skin enough to draw a sufficient amount of blood. (I’m stuck on the Multiclix lancet pen from AccuCheck, by the way.)

Both of my concerns aren’t with the meter itself, however. And I would hope that in future generations a bit more attention can be paid to the kit construction and what type of lancing device is offered to complement such a nice and useful blood glucose monitor.

If you are interested, do note that the WaveSense Jazz meter is only available through Diabetic Care Services (www.diabeticcareservices.com) and Diabetic Express (www.diabeticexpress.com).

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Comments
  1. Dear Eric.

    It would be interesting to see how precise and accurate this meter is. The bells and whistles are a nice features but 10 years ago I had a meter that was always 5% below the lab readings. It would be interesting to if you could take 3 readings with your new meter at the sametime as your next lab test and report the 3 readings and the correct value from the lab test. Also doing this at least 3 times to see if the meter reads high or low consistently or if it is random.

    The problem is the 5 second measurement time versus the 60 second one 10 years ago. This increase in speed has destroyed the accuracy. Then the meter used to integrate the current from the electrochemical reaction between the glucose and the test chemical. Now in 5 seconds there is no time for that so it probably only measures the maximum current which is a lot less accurate.

    This lack of accuracy causes much harm in my diabetic care since you no longer know how to treat marginal lows and highs with confidence.

    I complained about this to a meter company but the tech man said their marketing department considers speed much more important than accuracy. Not me I would gladly buy an accurate meter regardless of speed or bells and whistles.

    Posted by CalgaryDiabetic |
  2. For the record, Lifescan’s One Touch meters allow easy pre- and post-meal flagging. Uploading meter data to a computer or online requires LifeScan’s proprietary software (PC only, although that may change since their app is now available for the iPhone). Other data management tools or sites like HealthEngage or SweetSpot–whose support teams I’ve alerted–don’t seem capable of importing this data correctly, if at all.

    I know what you mean about kit quality. I’d taken mine for granted until forced to change meters by my county health program.

    Sorry for all the specific product mentions. I’m not shilling for any of them, honest. I just happen to be a LifeScan fan despite their–so far–lack of Mac support, and also to be a proponent of the usefulness of post-meal testing; so I’m familiar with some of these issues. It’s good to talk about what we like and expect, what trade-offs we make in choosing our diabetes management tools. Believe me, I talk to the health system about what a scandal it is for the patient not to have a choice.

    Best to all,
    M.

    Posted by Michael.Massing |
  3. I have had Type 1 diabetes for 51 years and, as such, am interested in everything that will help me control my diabetes better. I loved the One Touch Profile II meter because it not only allowed event labeling, but it also averaged the event labels without the aid of a computer. That meter, however, is no longer being manufactured, and the UltraSmart, which does all that the Profile II did and more, has print too small for me to read.

    I have several questions about the JazzSense Wave meter:

    Does the JazzWave Sense average the event tags, and, if so, what period of time is covered in the average? THe Profile II had 2-week averages for each label as well as 14- and 30- day averages.

    Does the meter require software to access the averages? The Profile II allowed accessing the averages without the aid of a computer.

    What are the events that can be tagged? The Profile II had labels for pre-breakfast, post-breakfast, pre-lunch, post-lunch, pre-dinner, post-dinner, bedtime, and during the night.

    Will the meter be available through other outlets in the near future?

    The advantage of the Profile II was that every week I did all the event averaging and could then monitor patterns. My diabetologist did not even look at my blood sugar readings because the averages told the whole story. It also allowed me to make timely changes in my diabetes management.

    Is the JazzSense Wave the meter of my dreams?

    Posted by Donna Korman |
  4. I have a JAZZ and just for kicks I tested 5 times in a row from the same samole site… and I got 5 wildly different readings… has anyone else experienced this with the JAZZ meter?

    Posted by Rich Bennett |
  5. You don’t mention accuracy. Isn’t accuracy an important part of testing. And availability, they don’t have retail strips available. What if you were out of town and you forgot your strips….ooops I guess you aren’t going to be able to test. There are a lot of things that need to be looked at instead of how your test strip box may appear. As John Stossel says, “Give me a break” about the appearance of your test strip box….Freestyle is the best and if you don’t have the No Coding “Freestyle Lite” then maybe you should get one!!

    Posted by Rich |
  6. I have also see the Jazz meter offered here http://www.northcoastmed.com/jazz.htm and http://www.diabeteshealthsupplies.com

    That’s where I got mine!

    Posted by Jon |
  7. I am having a hard time getting it to work. What is the trick? I put the strip in, it did take the blood, but, no reading.

    Posted by Cleo |
  8. You have not mentioned accuracy. Isn’t that the whole point of testing a glucometer?

    Posted by Abhishek |
  9. Due to what I see as a cost cutting exercise by my local GP surgery Ive been transferred onto the Wavesense Jazz, from my old meter.
    I find it cheaply made, with a flimsy feel and the lancet pen is even worse.
    More importantly my readings are all over the place, which as insulin dependant can be very tricky and even dangerous.
    My old meter read at least 1 1/2 points lower than this one, which frighteningly occasionally throws readings as high as 13.5 which when tested alongside the old meter is reading 8.
    Personally Im now only using it to gather evidence so that I can be transferred back to one I trust.

    Posted by Steve Dibble |
  10. I don’t know if my meter is faulty, the display has far lower contrast than all my other meters, and using the back-light makes only slight improvement. The slot for the test strip is very poor. There is no beep to say the strip is in, so many tests fail with a wasted strip and an extra finger prick to have to do. The meter wont work at all in the cold.
    This means more failed tests. I have used this meter for 12 months hoping a upgraded version would resolve these issues.

    Posted by Bill Bowmer |
  11. I have been a Type 1 diabetic for 23 years, and I have always bought my own meters. I have a drawer full of different ones but only use Acc-chek Aviva. I have been told my GP will no longer give me test strips for this meter ( cost cutting ) and I will have to switch to the Jazz meter. I don’t want to change to an inferior product ( which the jazz is ) but unless I by my own strips I have no choice. I think it shows a total disregard for peoples health when we are being FORCED to use a product that is cheap and bargin basement quality just to save a few pounds! I will do everything I can to keep my Aviva or at least get a meter of similar quility. If everyone who is being forced to change to this meter refused it maybe they would reconsider.The Jazz meter and finger pricking device are rubbish and I would NOT recommend anyone go out and actually purchase this. Diabolical!!!

    Posted by Mel |
  12. I was supplied this by my GP surgery. It is a neat little device and good recording. Mine has a strong black cloth case holding the device, lancet device, spare lancets and control solution. The back lighting is OK, but some writing on screen is too small to read easily.
    That’s the good side. I don’t like the sore fingers and many of the readings seem inaccurate. You are supposed to use the control solution to check the accuracy, but my pharmacy say the control solution is no longer available from the manufacturers. I have wasted loads of test strips as it is designed to work at ‘room temperatures’ of 21oC - 24oC. Yet despite having the central heating on and walking around the house in a T-shirt it often will not give a result as it is too cold. The book advises you to move somewhere warmer - not helpful if you are out & about. The batteries are expensive and don’t seem to last long.
    The pharmacy have suggested that my GP or diabetic clinic change my device.

    Posted by Sam |
  13. I have been forced to change over to the Jazz machine by my GP. I have used a accu check mobile for a while and found this brilliant. No test strips needed. I now have to use an inferior meter and the finger pricking device is awful. Ever since I have been using this machine I have felt as though my sugars are high even though the machine says different. I am angry that my health is being put at risk because the strips are cheaper for this machine.

    Posted by Judy |
  14. After using a Contour meter for some years, I am now told by my GP to use the issued Jazz, due to cost cutting. I was dubious at first but find the Jazz readings slightly vary by .01 and no greater than .03 , in comparison with the benchmark Contour, so not alarmingly different. I have 2 Contour meters the Jazz is as good, with handy backlight and overall general performance, inclusive of data storing for download, tagging of pre or post meal references. However, the Bayer Contour is the model preferred, having acquired the Contour Next , which is something else, trying to persuade my GP to prescribe the Next test strips, so far without success.

    Posted by Chris |
  15. I hate this meter.I have used Several and find this one cheap and inferior.Waste loads of strips as it constantly throws up errors,battery life is crap.Have had no choice as the doctors have said we have all got to change to these.

    Posted by Jacqui Nixon |
  16. I too am a victim of a cost cutting exercise by my doctor!. I hate this meter. It is cheap and nasty and wildly inaccurate. Even doing several tests using the control fluid one after another I get different results. The average results on the meter also differ wildly from lab results. Need to have a serious discussion with my doctor - the meter is useless.

    Posted by Dave Poole |

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