Testing

Testing

Today I am off on one of my many field trips to test new meters. Actually I have tested about 100 meters in the past five years; rather, I have tested maybe 100 versions of the instructions for meters. What happens in these particular meter trails is I am brought in at the appointed time and given instructions.

After reading the instructions I am then taken to a room and presented a meter, where I am told to test. We cannot read the instructions while we test so the idea is to understand how many mistakes we make. After getting a test result (some don’t) we are then ushered into a room where an official operator draws our blood into miniature pipettes, some of which are tested and compared to our results and others that are sent to the company for a third party test. Of course we never know for certain how we do: I mean those who do not get to the second test know of course.

These tests are done for a particular company however I will refrain from naming it. Over the years I have tested meters for hospitals, personal use, children, seniors, the person on the go and even one meter for use in extreme conditions. I liked that one.

Still the typical thing being tested is how people read the instructions. I have to say that is not an easy thing. I know how to use meters (generally) but just as surely as I do that knowledge gets into the way. For instance, one meter I tested socked up the blood, so blotting it onto the strip ruined the test. It said that in the book that I glanced over. Oops I get a note for that one but I still got paid. LOL

I wish I could report you I have tested some incredible meters. I have not. They are all pretty much the same, even the size, which at this point is oversized. There has not been a single miniature or even normal sized meter. Sometimes the test is about the strips. I have tested about 10 different strip types some are so long they would be difficult to carry. Some have been two to three times larger than what I use today. Again all this leads to the conclusion that while manufacturers are trying to make testing better they are largely at about the same as we are experiencing today. True some have been slower most a bit quicker but the general layout and conclusions are about the same.

All this leads to the story of why I volunteer for the studies. I wish I could say it is for the $50.00, that is the standard renumeration , but I don’t do it for money. While I do get a small payment my time is worth more than what I receive. I truly do it for the research. My hope is that I my doing this will make a difference for all of us in the future. This generation of meters came from some other tester who also did it somewhat for the money but mostly for the improvement of the product. On the front page of Tudiabetes there is an information box called strip safety. I read the material last night and took the quiz. I missed 2, I know many people will beat that score. But I do know this for certain. Testing technology needs to improve, if my participation can help move us forward, then I am ready to help. I look forward to the coming advances, whatever they may be.

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Rick