Last year Sanofi’s iBGStar was the talk of the town, and the Mendor from Finland – a meter, lancing device, and test strips, all contained in one unit – had our attention, too. Today, however, a new glucose meter developed in Israel has us riveted. It’s called Dario. This new meter has the best of iBGStar and Mendor, all rolled into one.
The Dario glucose meter was created by LabStyle Innovation, a company founded in 2010, in order to implement a new patent pending technology that seeks to bring laboratory testing capabilities to consumers through smartphones in an easy, friendly and inexpensive way. In a nutshell, the Dario turns a smartphone into a diabetes management system. The founders of LabStyle say that since the fundamental way of self-monitoring blood glucose has not really changed in more than 30 years, they believe Dario will make a big difference in diabetes care.
The Dario is an integrated unit that includes a basic adapter designed to connect to the audio jack of a smartphone. When the adapter is connected, a measurement is transmitted to the smartphone, turning the phone into a glucose monitor. The Dario also includes a built in lancing device loaded with disposable lancets and an integrated cartridge holding and dispensing 25 test strips.
The adapter can be used on all iOS devices (including iPhone 5 and iPads) as well as on Android phones. There’s no battery because the device harvests its power from the phone. The data collected is communicated back to the smartphone and is captured by Dario’s data management system.
The first thing that catches the eye when you see the Dario glucose meter is its size. The entire device including the strips and lancets is the size of a cigarette lighter. But as cool as the device looks (it’s really cool) there are many other features which the creators of Dario are proud of.
When I spoke to Dr. Oren Fuerst, CEO of Labstyle Innovations and long-time entrepreneur, he highlighted the software side of Dario which combines an app and cloud based services for remote access to the data. “Above all,” he said, “we are improving the user experience on so many domains, from the look and feel of the software, through the design of the hardware and through our interactions with patients on the product website.”
The Dario software includes the mobile app which turns the smartphone together with the adapter into a glucose meter, and a website which is an online database that records the users’ data, analyzes it and enables a variety of means to create reports.
The idea for Dario came about when Fuerst’s colleague, a medical device regulatory expert and a type 2 diabetic, introduced Fuerst to Dr. David Weintraub, a director of one of Israel’s medical centers and a type 2 diabetic.
The two began to talk and during this meeting the core idea of Dario was born. “It was clear we were not going to simply have another run of the mill glucometer,” Fuerst says. “We had the potential to completely alter diabetes care as we know it.” Fuerst and Weintraub immediately gathered a team of hardware and software engineers and started to work on creating the initial prototype.
They surrounded themselves with clinicians and patients on a mission to create the most well designed and most patient focused hardware and data management system on the market.
What about that data management system, then? What makes it special?
Fuerst says, “Like with all parts of the system, we have focused on the user experience- the look and feel and functionality of the software is by no means less than gorgeous. The app (free download) combines features and functions that are fairly unique and advanced- both the automatic loading of the results and a local food data base and smart search function for easy data capture and calculation of the carb intake.” The app also includes an insulin calculator and advanced reporting and data sharing tools, and the data is replicated over the web for remote access and backups. There are apps for iPhones and Android phones.
Interestingly, the creators of Dario don’t view their product as a simply a better version of what’s out there. They believe Dario is a game changer, one that will lead to real paradigm shifts in diabetes management and care. Patients, they say, will not only have a small and user friendly device, but one that encourages them to test more frequently, thanks to a reminders system that allows them analyze their results and learn how to better manage their diabetes.
The makers of Dario say the mobile app enables effective blood sugar management by allowing the user to log food consumption, glucose levels, medication and physical activity. These inputs can assist in personalization of insulin recommendation. Dario also allows caregivers to obtain information and communicate with patients easily, with only a click.
One of the most exciting things about Dario is not the device itself, but the fact that it may create a new source for research. The Dario model, Dr. Fuerst says, will quickly create the largest diabetes database, to be available for clinical research and epidemiology studies of the distribution and patterns of diabetes characteristics.
The makers of Dario expect the device to receive the CE mark this year or early next year. It will be available in Europe as soon as it is approved. They expect the FDA clearance for marketing in the U.S. next year.
Visit mydario.com for more information.
Michael Aviad is co-founder of ASweetLife. He writes the blog Diabetes – It’s an Endurance Sport.
Follow Michael on Twitter @michaelaviad