How often do you check your meter?

We all know that some meters are more accurate than others; that's a perennial discussion topic here and elsewhere. And, we all know that no home meter is as precise or accurate or repeatable as those expensive lab instruments. Logically, then, it's worth doing whatever we can make certain our meters are delivering all the accuracy they are capable of.

So -

How often do you apply the control solution to verify that your meter is still as accurate as it was on the day you bought it?

I try to use the control solution for every new vial, but I don't think that really does much to really determine theaccuracy of the meter because the range for the control solution is big.

What I will do is take a reading with all of my meters everytime I have my labs done, so every three months. That gives me a better idea of how accurate my meters are and they generally come in around 5% of the lab readings. I've never had one outside of 10%.

I use the control solution when I start a new batch of test strips with a new serial #. I also test my meter with the lab when I get my blood work done at the doctors'.

I use the control solution with every new box of strips. I check my meter results vs the lab everytime I get blood drawn. I have a One Touch Ultra Link. I had one instance when the meter/lab results varied by 30%. I called the number on the back of my meter and they sent a new one, free of charge, overnight.
On another note, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the control solution at any pharmacy without a special order.

I don't. Mine always seems relatively accurate and if I take my blood sugar soon after doesn't very much. My averages seem in tune with my A1C. I could be deluded, but basically, I just take it at its word and don't worry too much. I also have no choice about meter as my One Touch is the meter/remote for my Ping so I don't ponder getting a new one.

Interesting, Shawnmarie. I'm going to try it right now and see.

OK, two new test strips 10 seconds apart. 1 point difference.

That's a good point about the wide range, also. I'm not content to have the reading simply fall somewhere within range. I require that it be near the center, say, the middle 25% of the acceptable range. So far it is.

For the sake of completeness, I should also mention that I checked it a couple of hours ago. That reading exactly matched one of the two I did just now.

I never use the control solution, my daily meter will have had 16,000 test strips ran through it next mouth.

Yes sometimes meters are random number generators but using the control solution will not fix this and I have used LifeScan meters since the very first meter that would read the paper tape with a light meter...never had a bad LifeScan strip but many years ago there was some bootleg strips on the market that were worthless.

The bottle of strips I'm using now has a control range of 108-145mg/dL...Ha-Ha-Ha now how is this information going to help you. The control range is so wide any strip will pass.

Oh, life is ambiguity and imprecision. You can't escape it, with diabetes or with anything else.

I mean, nothing we deal with is truly exact. Insulin varies from batch to batch no matter now much they tell you otherwise. Food counts are only averages. 1 stalk of celery = 1 gram of carb? Well, maybe and maybe not; depends on where and how it was grown, when it was harvested, how it was transported and stored, and so on. Generic drugs sometimes are just as potent as name brands and sometimes they're not. Etc. Etc. Etc. Ad infinitum.

We live in a constantly variable world; you have to accept that and deal with it; it's just reality, and reality doesn't care even slightly what we think, it just goes on being reality.

But none of this is a reason to forego opportunities we do have to keep the randomness to a minimum. If anything, it's a reason to do it. As someone once said in another context, life is change and you have no choice about that; the only choice you have is whether you manage change, or it manages you.

Same here. You can't achieve absolute precision; it's out of reach. But when there is something you can do to tilt the odds a bit more in your favor, it's worth doing. IMHO.

And when you've done that, sit back, relax, pet the cat, listen to it purr, and smell the flowers. :)

I agree, I think the range on the control solution is way too wide to tell you if your meter is accurate or not.

I have a slip to go get my A1c and blood sugar checked quarterly so I test my BS against the lab when I do that.

As many people have commented, both in this discussion and others, it's a really good idea to test whenever you have blood drawn at the lab and compare your reading to theirs. IMO that's probably the best cross check for accuracy that is available. At least to us.

I have three meters currently, Accucheck Aviva, Freestyle, and Omnipod Freestyle. All of them read within range when I use my control solution. All of them, individually, read pretty consistently with the control solution, though I try not to use the control solution too much.

My Omnipod and regular Freestyle, however, though still within range, read wildly different on the same control solution. My Freestyle generally reads somewhere in the middle while the Omnipod reads very close to the lower end, sometimes within a couple of points of the lower limit.

The only thing that gives me any comfort at all that I'm getting good and consistent readings is when my lab numbers come back showing that all the meters not only read my blood sugars within 5% of each other, but within 5% of the lab numbers.

I usually check it whenever I get a blood test from the lab to see if it is the same. I would ask a professional whenever there are questions about accuracy, though. I found something that I think is going to make life a lot easier for a lot of people, so I thought I should share it with you. I have used healthtap.com before to get fast answers from actual US doctors, but I just tried their new product, and it is mind blowing! I just connected with a real doctor in New York City, and she gave me some info that will actually help me with my condition.

Why are these comments about healthtap appearing in several different threads by different people but with almost the same wording?? Is there a phishing scam going on?

I share your suspicion. For some reason my mailbox is filling with solicitations today, not only for this but other things as well.

Hmmm...I've been spared the inbox stuff. I would go ahead and report it to admin; they're pretty strict about spam.

I personally hate phishing even more than spam, because it makes it sound like it's coming from someone you trust. I even had my e-mail hijacked once and it sent spam for selling tvs to my Dean! I was so embarrassed!

Never. What is there to go wrong with it? Electronics of this nature either work or they don't. If it doesn't work, I will use a back-up and call for another one.

With respect, you seem convinced that it's absolutely black and white -- electronics either work perfectly, or fail completely -- but never do anything in between, i.e., simply malfunction. Having worked with VERY expensive computers my entire adult life, I can guarantee categorically that this is not the case. If that is your experience I can only say that you are extraordinarily fortunate; if I had a dollar for every time I have had to have a piece of electronics repaired, I could treat us both to a lavish dinner. Circuits deteriorate without failing entirely, contacts get dirty from the environment, and a million other things. With something as vital as a blood test, checking occasionally is very cheap insurance indeed.

I'd like to check my meter against the lab. This seems like a good idea. I'm wondering, however, if comparing venous plasma blood from the lab to capillary blood used in our meters is a valid confirmation of accuracy. Does anyone have any info on this topic?