Product Review: WaveSense Jazz Blood Glucose Meter

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 [1] 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[2] 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[3]), 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 ([4]) and Diabetic Express ([5]).

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Eric Lagergren: Eric Lagergren was born in 1974 but didn’t give much thought to diabetes until March 2007, when he was diagnosed with Type 1. He now gives quite a bit of thought to the condition, and to help him better understand his life as a person with diabetes, he writes about it. Eric is the senior editor for the Testing Division at the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute in Ann Arbor. (Eric Lagergren is not a medical professional.)

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