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Talking Meters
What’s New?

by Ann S. Williams, Ph.D., R.N., C.D.E.

Accu-Chek Voicemate

Size of meter: 6.50″ x 3.00″ x 2.50″: too large to carry easily in a pocket or purse. The meter comes with its own carrying case with a shoulder strap.

Cost of the meter: about $500.

Meter and strip availability: As of January 1, 2007, the manufacturer, Roche Diagnostics, is no longer shipping new meters to retailers. However, some meters may still be available through select medical equipment suppliers. Roche will continue to supply the Voicemate by special request from physicians for people who have an urgent need for it, and the company plans to keep the strips available indefinitely in pharmacies and from durable medical equipment companies. (See “Resources” for contact information.)

Clarity of the meter’s voice: Clear, easy to understand.

Available languages: English or Spanish.

Volume: Adjustable. Comes with an earphone that allows private use in public spaces.

Repairs: The meter and the voice are produced by the same manufacturer, so if either malfunctions, it can be repaired by the same source.

Size of the strips: about 1.70″ x 0.40″.

Ease of handling strips: Easy to handle, even for people with some dexterity problems.

Insertion of strips: The insertion end of the strip is easily identified as being farthest away from the rounded cutout area where the blood is placed, with the cutout positioned to the right. The strip is easy to insert in the meter nonvisually.

Accessible instructions: Complete audiotaped instructions come with each meter. The voice guides the user through all steps of a blood glucose check.

Coding: Requires coding, which can be accomplished nonvisually by the insertion of a code chip that is included inside every box of strips.

Size of blood drop: 4 microliters of blood are needed for an accurate test—a relatively large drop compared to many modern meters. (See “Getting a Blood Drop Onto a Strip” for suggestions on how to get an adequately sized blood drop.)

Placement of blood drop: Each strip has a rounded cutout area near one end that identifies tactilely where the blood drop should be placed. The strip pulls the blood in from the side, and the user can add more blood for up to 15 seconds. The meter beeps when enough blood has been applied. Although the meter is not supposed to begin its countdown if an inadequate sample is applied, it is possible for the meter to beep and begin its countdown when not quite enough blood has been applied, resulting in an inaccurately low reading.

Time for results to appear: Varies, but it is usually 30–40 seconds—relatively long compared to most modern meters.

Results: The meter speaks the results clearly, and they can be repeated by pressing a button.

Meter’s memory size: Retains the most recent 100 readings, with the date and time of each reading.

Memory accessibility: The memory can be accessed by the voice.

Computer interface: Information can be uploaded to a computer with a purchased cable and software. However, the software program is not accessible with a computer screen reader.

Extras: Has a bar code reader that identifies types of Eli Lilly insulin in vials.

Advocate and Advocate Redi-Code

Size of meter: 3.70″ x 1.90″ x 0.90″: easily carried in a pocket or purse.

Cost of the meter: about $30.

Meter and strip availability: Distributed by Pharma Supply (see “Resources” for contact information). Also available through select durable medical equipment companies and suppliers of accessible equipment for people with visual impairment.

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Also in this article:
Insurance Coverage for Talking Meters
Strips: Which End is Which?
Getting a Blood Drop onto a Strip



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