A meter that comes with unlimited test strips is a win for anyone with diabetes. One that comes with a slick app and a leather holder might also be enough to convince you to transition to One Drop, because AT LAST this everyday, every-meal apparatus that you lug around come sunny day, rainy commute, sweaty bike ride doesn’t come in a nylon, made-in-Taiwan, black zippered bag. At last.
My One Drop meter arrived inside a gleaming silver box. When I flipped it open, I was greeted with components that might look more appropriate at Best Buy then a pharmacy. Perhaps a functional tool on a cocktail bar? The black leather holder is stitched in red and snugly lined up in the holster are test strips, meter and lancet gleaming in space age silver.
“There’s no cool diabetes gear.” Jeff Dachis, CEO and founder of One Drop, said two years ago, right before he launched the One Drop app and the Bluetooth-enabled chrome meter. Dachis had been thinking of this problem since 2013, when he found out he had type-one diabetes. “There’s no waves for diabetes, no collective, collaborative crowd sourced way to bring diabetics together,” said Dachis, who, although diagnosed late in life, knew far too well what it was like. He watched his father struggle with the disease.
When Dachis first learned the news, he said, “They gave me a prescription, an insulin pen and patted me on the back. Ten minutes later I was out of the office. I was stunned.” The active 50-year-old Googled his new way of life and decided to do something about it.
First of course, he tackled the idea of how to take an unloved object and make it loved. Then he created a platform to enable people to share data instantly. Dachis wanted to create a tool that allows users to track their “journey between glucose readings.” A marathon run, a salad, whatever. “Our users are active, they log in 3 times a day for a minute and forty seconds apiece,” said Dachis.
Today, One Drop has over 6 million minutes logged from over 4 million user sessions in the last twenty-four months, which amounts to 250 million data points. In March, the team announced that mobile app users reported a substantial improvement in glycemic control, reducing A1c by 1.0 percentage point, after using the app for as little as two months. One Drop plans to share learnings direct with users, delivered to an in-box inside the app. I didn’t get to see this feature, but sounds like a win to me.
There’s a one-time meter charge and a monthly charge for strips and, if you want, a premium service that connects you to a 24/7 certified coach. In a sea of diabetes apps, One Drop is the only app accredited by the American Diabetes Association.
The kit comes with 100 test strips and retails for $99. It’s a little less on Amazon, where it just launched. If you subscribe to one of the two subscription plans, unlimited monthly or annual, via the One Drop website, it costs $79. While the costs aren’t reimbursable, you can charge it to an FSA or HSA. Back in 2015, Dachis hoped that insurance would cover 100% of the costs to a patient. But the pathway to getting a product onto insurance formularies is beyond bureaucratic. “We will eventually get there. It’s just not the most seamless easy path for a company our size,” says Dachis, whose company is at a very petite twenty people.
It’s wonderful to see people like Dachis bring both design and functionality to our disease but of course, there are highs and lows to this initial launch. Read on.
Unlimited test strips. Easy to buy. Fun app with unlimited things to do and log.
Interesting newsfeed that is updated daily.
Polls that share user data.
Ability to streamline your other health data–– FitBit, Strava or Dexcom––into the One Drop app.
The holder was designed by men. I don’t know how to say this without bringing up my gender, but the meter and holder were clearly designed by men with a limited user group of women or otherwise busy people who carry bags full of stuff. The three components look all gleamy and cool stowed in the leather holder on your desk or nightstand, but once they’re all separated in the bottom of your bag, they’re just an irritation you must track down. (You’ll find this same complaint in the iTunes store.)
The meter was engineered by a lefty. When you hold the meter in your right hand the logo is correct, but you must use your left hand to insert the test strip. While I grab the meter with my right hand, I always take a strip out with my right hand too, and then I need to shuffle everything, meter in left hand and strip in right hand, put strip in and then realize the meter is upside down, so I awkwardly switch hands or use my left hand to do things I naturally do with my right hand. Nitpicky? Of course, but it doesn’t make sense and it bothered me every time.
The lancet is created for giant hands. Aren’t we supposed to be going smaller here with our technology? I found the large button on the lancet to be very unresponsive. Here’s the situation. You’ve got a pointy needle poised above your finger while you wait for the sharp pain, but because the button is slow to engage there’s a lag. During the lag, you agonize. The lancet device is bulky and long.
Syncing to Bluetooth is so-so. For the first week I could not connect my device to my phone, which meant I had to dial in my blood sugar results within the app. There’s no place for entering the number, you dial it in with your finger and the odds of hitting your exact number are 1 in 20. Once I got it synced to my Bluetooth (none of my settings changed, but the timing of when I tried to sync did), it worked most of the time but not all of the time.
(Update: There IS a way to enter a number, you hit the center of the bullseye, which pulls up the keypad, but I obviously didn’t pick up on that.)
What’s next? Dachis assures me that this is version 1.0, so look for new designs or colors annually. New languages and countries are launching all the time, and soon, new cheaper monthly plans.
One Drop Giveaway! Enter below to win one of three packages. Each package includes:
One Drop | Chrome (meter, lancing device, lancets (10 ct), test strips (100 ct), and carry case)
3 months subscription to the Unlimited plan, which includes:
– unlimited test strips delivered direct to your door
– unlimited access to 24/7 on-demand CDE support
The package is worth the equivalent of $199.80.