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[IP] No insurance coverage for GlucoWatch Biographer
This article was in yesterday's paper and addresses the question someone
asked about insurance coverage.
Wristwatch checks blood sugar levels
It's first device to take real-time readings without piercing skin
By Anita Manning / USA TODAY
A wristwatch that continuously monitors blood sugar levels without the need
to draw blood goes on the U.S. market Monday.
The GlucoWatch Biographer takes readings through the skin at 20-minute
intervals over 12 hours. When blood glucose rises or falls past pre-set
levels, an alarm goes off.
This is the first device that can take real-time glucose readings without
piercing the skin, says Rhoda Cobin of the American Association of Clinical
Endocrinologists. "It will be very helpful, particularly for people who test
at odd times, take continuous readings or (test) overnight."
Glucose levels can change in minutes, depending on food intake, medication or
exercise, says GlucoWatch inventor Russell Potts. "If you only make one
measurement in 12 hours, which is what most people do, you can't know what
happened when you ate pizza."
The device costs $595, and the sensors, which have to be replaced every 12
hours, sell for $69.75 for 16. Insurance does not reimburse for it.
The Food and Drug Administration approved the watch last year but only
recently signed off on the manufacturing processes.
The GlucoWatch won't replace fingerstick blood monitoring, nor is it simple
to use. It can be worn for only 12 hours, requires warmup and calibration and
skips readings if the wearer sweats.
"It's used to detect trends and track patterns," says Craig Carlson of watch
manufacturer Cygnus Inc. in Redwood, Calif.
In development for more than 10 years, the GlucoWatch is not yet licensed for
use in children, though a look-alike gadget appears in the film "Panic Room".
The watch will be sold directly by the manufacturer to consumers with a
doctor's prescription. For more information, go to www.glucowatch.com or call
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