The amount of diabetes-related software has exploded in the past few years, fueled in part by the proliferation of applications for mobile phones. Nearly every insulin pump and blood glucose meter now comes with computer software that can organize data from the device, and there are lots of offerings from independent companies that work with several different glucose meters. At the same time, the rise of smartphones — mobile phones with extensive software capabilities — has opened up a new market for on-the-go diabetes management programs.
Some software programs now offer extensive features, while others remain fairly basic. There are programs for graphing blood glucose trends, programs that let you share blood glucose readings with your health-care provider, virtual logbooks, meal-planning aids, restaurant locators, educational guides, and more. This article describes a range of programs for different devices and platforms, varying in their purposes and capabilities. For prices and contact information, see the table “Software, Hardware, Where?”.
Online data management
There are many Web-based programs that allow the user to directly upload data from a blood glucose meter using a cable connecting it to a computer. These programs provide different views of blood glucose data, such as logbook, report, and graph formats. Some of them have account settings that can be adjusted so that a health-care provider can log in and see the user’s information. This way, the provider can offer recommendations by e-mail or prepare ahead for the next office visit. Some of these Web-based programs also offer educational materials and useful tips.
Telcare is a blood glucose meter that wirelessly transmits blood glucose readings in real time to the password-protected MyTelcare.com portal or to the MyTelcare iPhone app. Both the Web site and the app offer a number of different graphs and charts that are constantly updated; you can also add notes to each reading and set goals and blood glucose ranges through the online portal. You can also give health-care providers access to the portal, allowing them to give feedback on your readings.
DiabetEASE is a free program that lets users upload blood glucose readings directly from a meter and then graph trends in easy-to-read formats. Trends can by viewed by the day, week, or month, or based on events such as exercise or meals.
Cornerstones4Care from Novo Nordisk lets users set and track goals in the areas of blood pressure, physical activity, weight, and frequency of blood glucose monitoring. It also offers educational materials, meal-planning guides, and many other features.
MyCareConnect is an online system designed to share information between children with diabetes and their parents, teachers, school nurses, and health-care team. Blood glucose readings can be entered by the child, teacher, or school nurse either on the Web site or by text message. Whenever new data is entered — either a blood glucose reading, an insulin or carbohydrate dose, or a note — all designated parties receive a copy by text message or e-mail. The system can be set up so that some people, such as parents, get notified for every data entry and other people, such as the school nurse or members of the child’s health-care team, are alerted only if an out-of-range level is reported.
The following software programs will work on most home computers running Windows and on Macs when indicated. Most programs can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s Web site, and many are also available on CD upon request.