{D-Mom Tested} Bayer Didget Blood Glucose Meter & Test Strips

by Leighann on September 6, 2010

Please read my disclosure statement. Bayer sent me a Didget Kit and an extra vial of test strips to try out. The Nintendo DS was our own. The opinions are my own and no monetary compensation was given.

When I saw the Bayer Didget blood glucose monitoring system, I knew I wanted to find out more. It’s targeted exactly to our demographic: the child with diabetes. But more than a gimmick to get my child engaged, I need a meter that is easy to use and incredibly reliable.

We were given the 25 test strips that come with the kit, plus an additional vial of 50 test strips. Results in this post are based on using the meter until we used the first 25 test strips.

Meter

When I read the instructions (yes, I read the instructions) I kept wondering what the big deal was about not testing with the meter upside down. I didn’t know if they meant with the meter below her hand and the test strip facing up. I kept thinking that seemed like an awkward way to do it. I realized that they meant that the display is upside down when you look at it when testing.

I hated this.

I am used to being able to read what the meter says while we are testing. In my opinion the test strip needs to go into the other end of the Didget…like every other meter I have ever seen.

What’s the big deal, you ask?

The big deal is that I kept getting an error code and couldn’t figure out what it meant because I was seeing it upside down. You know how an “E” looks like a “3” when it’s upside down?

Or an 802 pops up on the meter and you freak out before you realize it’s a 208.

Bayer Didget

When you look at the meter while testing, the numbers are upside down.

Bayer Didget

You have to turn the meter around to see that this is a 72. If you look at it while testing it looks like “2L.”

Bayer Didget

When this 802 popped up, I freaked for a second. Notice it took THREE test strips to get her BG reading.

Bayer Didget

It wasn’t an 802, it was a 208.

I have a Master’s degree and I thought it was an 802. Do you think that a first grader will remember to turn the meter the other way?

Contour Test Strips

What I like about the Contour test strips is that you can see the blood going in and filling it up. What I didn’t like was the large number of error codes and wasted strips.

Pros:

  • You can see the blood enter in the test strip.
  • Needs only a small sample (most of the time).
  • Quick results.

Cons:

  • I wasted an incredible number of test strips getting the same error code.

So that first vial had 25 test strips and I only successfully tested 13 times. That’s almost a 50% failure rate. I don’t know about you, but our insurance only covers so many strips. Not to mention that each time I got this error, I had to lance her tender little fingers again.

I had another vial of test strips, but I was so discouraged that I decided not to use them at that point and switch back to our own meter that uses FreeStyle strips.

Bayer Didget

I was only able to perform 13 tests with a vial of 25 test strips. That’s almost a 50% error rate.

When I called customer service (see below) all anyone could ever tell me was that I wasn’t putting enough blood on the strip. But each time I got this error, there was a nice drop of blood that I was trying to soak up. In the end I was told that I would also get this E2 error code if the strip touched her finger and not just the blood.

Didget E2 Error

When you look up the E2 error on their website, it says you aren’t using enough blood. It doesn’t mention not touching the skin.

Didget Testing

It’s not until you go deeper into their website that you see that you aren’t supposed to touch the skin.

Now in 2.5 years of testing with FreeStyle test strips I can tell you that we frequently touch her finger. Frequently. And it has never been an issue. Not with the FreeStyle Lite meter, not with the FreeStyle Flash meter, not with the FreeStyle Freedom meter, and not with the OmniPod PDM.

When I was at the 2010 Roche Social Media Summit I mentioned this to one of the reps from Roche and she had never heard of this type of complaint either.

(Here is the explanation of how to properly use the Bayer Didget meter including not touching the skin with the test strip.)

Now I am trying to get my six-year-old to be more self-sufficient with her diabetes care, including testing her own blood sugar. If I, as an adult who has 2.5 years of experience and a steady hand cannot test her blood sugar with this meter and strips, then how in the world can I expect my young child to be more adept at it than me?

If you market a meter to kids, then make a meter that a kid can actually perform a BG test with.

Customer Service

Twice I went to their website to ask a question on chat. Each time I was asked if they could call me. The entire point of live chat is that I am doing three (or more) things at once and if I wanted to call I would have just picked up the phone to begin with.

When I asked for an explanation about the E2 error code, I waited while the customer service rep “researched” the answer. He came back after a little bit with a link. The link? Exactly the page on their website that I originally saw, didn’t give me enough of an explanation, and prompted me to start a chat session.

By comparison, I have called Abbott a couple of times in the past 2.5 years when I have had an issue with a test strip and got an error code. Each time Abbott asked me for lot numbers, expiration dates, etc. Each time I was asked if the error had an effect on her treatment (one time we had an error while at a restaurant and it was our luck that it was the last strip in the vial and we had to guess her BG). Each time I was offered replacement test strips.

None of this happened with Bayer.

Verdict

Would I use this meter long term? You’ll have to read the next two posts on this meter to find out.

All posts about about the Bayer Didget

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Penny September 6, 2010 at 7:54 am

So far, the Bayer Didget is not winning me over. Who would turn the meter over to read the number? My 8 year old wouldn’t probably. She would be telling me things like ‘802’ and freaking out herself! And yes, we too touch her finger a lot getting the blood onto the FreeStyle strips for her PDM. Never had a problem that the test strip didn’t like us touching the finger. Who can hover over a child’s blood drop like that – Houdini? And to think this is a meter marketed for kids???? And I am so sorry about the wasted strips, that part made me want to cry.

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2 Leighann September 6, 2010 at 9:08 am

Penny- In full disclosure, I got the test strips for free, as well as the meter, to try out and write about.

But if I had paid for these strips I would have been even more frustrated than I was…if that’s possible.

Not to mention each time this happened it meant another poke to try again.

I really wanted to use that second vial of test strips, but just couldn’t bear to go through it again.

I have to wonder if it’s just me who would look at it upside down and read it wrong, but obviously it’s an issue because they mention it in the manual.

Not so sure they did real life focus group testing on this one!

Have you tried it yourself yet?

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3 Penny September 6, 2010 at 9:21 am

Even free, it seems like it’s wasteful to ‘lose’ that many strips on an error which isn’t really an error so to speak. I mean, what kid isn’t going to at some point, touch their finger with the strip end? And yes, I thought of all the pokes too, on top of the $$$ strips. That makes it even worse.
Nope, haven’t tried it yet. Bennet over at ydmv.net had it to try though and did a short review of it. The confusing part is reading it upside down. And what you said it very true, it’s like they did no real like D focus group testing on this one!

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4 Donna September 21, 2010 at 9:14 am

Thank you for the very honest review. I’m looking specifically for a glucose meter for my little one and I’m having a world of problems finding good information. The Bayer Didget Blood Glucose Meter was one on my list to check out, so I’m very interested in the final outcome of your review.

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5 Leighann September 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Maybe knowing its quirks will make it workable. I am about to do another round of testing with it to see if knowing what I know now, I can get better results and consistency.

So far, the easiest I have found to use is the FreeStyle Lite because it’s small enough that little hands can hold it easily. But we now use the regular FreeStyle strips in our OmniPod PDM. The meter that Abbott is using now with the regular FreeStyle strips is much larger.

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6 Bonny January 12, 2011 at 9:32 am

My daughter loves the meter. Our concern is that the test results are anywhere from 20 to 60 ponts lower than the meter we were using. I wanted to know if you had experienced the same thing.

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7 Leighann January 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm

We honestly had so many errors and wasted strips that I couldn’t tell you if the numbers seemed similar to our other meter or not. I need to get back to this meter and give it another go.

What does your daughter like about the meter? Would love to know. Did you use another Bayer meter before this one?

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8 Teresa February 11, 2011 at 4:44 am

Yes, I have the same problem. Our last reslts on Didget – 104, on Accu-chek Aviva – 137. Which one is correct?

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9 BJ May 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm

I’m not sure how you get “turn the meter upside down”. In this meter, unlike many others, the strip goes in the TOP of the meter and not the bottom. In my experience, its also not that you touch the finger, but that you need to not press the strip into the finger to block the “chute” where the blood goes up. I think that by holding the meter with the strip coming out the top, it also somewhat prevents the error problem you were experiencing by changing the way you hold the meter when testing. Personally, I love this meter and have used many many different meters. I also use the Contour Link to communicate with my pump but got this meter for the times where I dont want my pump to auto-calibrate. I think it is worth trying if you think you might like it and if you have a DS, its worth trying anyhow.

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