We have written about automatic blood glucose level monitoring, insulin pumps, and closed-loop artificial pancreas systems from companies such as Medtronic. People with diabetes rely on accurate blood glucose level readings. It’s understandable when they don’t embrace leading edge technology even if it promises greater accuracy and tons more convenience than manual finger stick testing several times a day. Until closed-loop systems mature to the point that the majority of endocrinologists enthusiastically recommend them, Intuity Medical‘s POGO Automatic One-Step Blood Glucose Monitor may fill the gap between carrying and juggling multi-piece finger stick apparatus.

The POGO Automatic Monitor uses POGO Test Cartridges. Each cartridge is good for 10 tests. There are no other physical components to the system. To use the system, a user presses a finger on a button. The finger press activates the device which collects a tiny blood sample, and after a 4-second countdown it displays the blood glucose test result. It also rotates the test materials in the cartridge and is ready for the next test. And that’s it: no bag of testing supplies with lancets and test strips. Just carry the POGO Automatic in your pocket or purse and you’re good to go. According to Intuity, the FDA cleared the POGO Automatic for prescription and OTC use based on the system’s accuracy within +/- 15% accuracy compared to hospital reference testing, the standard used for all glucose monitors.

If the user wishes, they can sync the test data via Bluetooth with Patterns, a free iOS and Android smartphone app that displays the user’s trends. According to Intuity, Patterns integrates with common third party wellness devices and apps; users even can send their glucose data to healthcare providers.

The FDA cleared the POGO Automatic system for prescription and OTC at Walgreens stores nationwide and at CVS Pharmacy in select regions, with CVS availability coast-to-coast expected in a few months, according to Intuity. The POGO Automatic Monitor and Test Cartridges are eligible for purchase with FSA and HSA accounts. On the POGO website, the POGO Automatic Monitor costs $68 and a 50-test pack of 5 cartridges sells for $32. Intuity also offers Coaching for Automatic, live one-on-one coaching with a certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist to support the patient with managing their diabetes.

The global scourge of diabetes has no simple answers. Our first thought about the POGO Automatic One-Step Blood Glucose Monitor was that it was a step backwards from the progress of glucose monitor implants and insulin pumps. The realities of daily life with diabetes and common patient hesitancy to be early adopters of the new technologies shows the value of the POGO system as an interim step for some and possibly an acceptable lifestyle adaptation for many others.