Thursday, 28 June 2018 23:20

Diabetes sufferers can monitor glucose levels with smartphone app now in Australia


Available for compatible iPhones and Androids, the FreeStyle LibreLink app enables FreeStyle Fibre users to monitor glucose levels directly via smartphones.

Taking another step forward in making glucose monitoring seamlessly fit into a user's daily lifestyle, health company Abbott's "FreeStyle LibreLink app" is now available in Australia.

People with diabetes in Australia and using the FreeStyle Libre system are now able to access glucose data directly from their smartphones, eliminating the need to carry the separate FreeStyle Libre reader (a handheld device used to scan the FreeStyle Libre sensor to get a glucose result).

Using an iPhone or Android's phone's near-field communication capability (on iPhone 7 and greater running iOS 11, and Android NFC phones with Android OS 5.0 or better), we're told "the FreeStyle LibreLink app enables users to hold their smartphone near their FreeStyle Libre sensor to capture and view their real-time glucose levels, their eight-hour glucose history, and how their glucose is currently changing; and easily add notes to track food, insulin use, medication and exercise".

The system reads glucose levels through a sensor that can be worn on the back of the upper arm for up to 14 days, eliminating the need for routine finger pricks, while no finger prick calibration is needed.

FreeStyle LibreLink user, Simon, 41, from Port Melbourne, Victoria said: "Being able to check my blood glucose levels with my phone is a complete game changer. Together with a digital wallet, it means I can now walk out the door with nothing other than my phone.

“As an avid long-distance kite surfer, it means that I can now check my blood glucose levels with my water proof phone and don’t have to worry about drowning my reader.

"Pairing with a phone and reader together will also mean that I have a backup if I lose or misplace either. Lastly, consistent regular uploads of data to my profile will mean that I check my weekly trends more easily and therefore more regularly.”

Abbott said customers using its FreeStyle LibreLink app "will have access to several updates and new features in comparison to the FreeStyle Libre reader, including: a larger, high-resolution display, text-to-speech capabilities for glucose readings (when enabled), the ability to log smaller doses of insulin (0.1 unit versus 0.5 units), and support for 26 languages".

While the app can replace the reader for routine glucose testing, the two can also be used in combination with each other.

Diabetes Australia chief executive Professor Greg Johnson said: "Glucose monitoring is one of the most intrusive parts of living with diabetes and Diabetes Australia welcomes technologies that provide people with more convenient and less disruptive ways of monitoring glucose levels.

“We know that people with diabetes have been looking for devices to be streamlined. Integrating diabetes management tools into mobile phone technologies is another advancement that will reduce the burden of living with diabetes.

"We want to make it easier for people to better self-manage their diabetes, helping to reduce diabetes-related complications and ultimately improve health outcomes.”

We're also told that "FreeStyle LibreLink users have the option to share their information through LibreView 7, a 'secure, cloud-based diabetes management system' that enables the patient to share their glucose insights with their healthcare professional".

"In the future, FreeStyle LibreLink users will also have the option to share their information with loved ones and caregivers through other digital health tools that are also part of the FreeStyle Libre platform."

Professor Stephen Twigg, head of the Department of Endocrinology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Kellion Professor of Endocrinology and Stan Clark Chair in Diabetes, said: "The FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring System has proven to be highly popular for people with diabetes who require insulin treatment, both in its great convenience and in the reassuring detailed information it provides - in monitoring real time glucose trends and in the summary data assembled.

“The welcome addition of the FreeStyle LibreLink now further enhances that platform, with greater functionality and provision of helpful data, in a smartphone-based delivery method.”

The FreeStyle LibreLink app can be downloaded free of charge for both iPhone and Android in Australia, which is also the first country outside Europe where the app is available.

Peter Chalikias, regional director, Diabetes Care, Abbott ANZ, explained: “The convenience and ease that FreeStyle Libre users have grown accustomed to are hard to top, but Abbott’s FreeStyle LibreLink app does exactly that.

“This app is also backed by a secure digital ecosystem that enables users to share information with their healthcare provider, making it more actionable. Australian users now have the option of buying the FreeStyle Libre sensors and using their smartphones to scan after installing the FreeStyle LibreLink app.”

FreeStyle Libre is presently available across 42 countries, and 28 of these have full or partial reimbursement.

Abbott said it is "working with health authorities in Australia to seek reimbursement for FreeStyle Libre on the National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS), to ensure equitable and affordable access to the FreeStyle family of glucose monitoring systems for people living with diabetes".

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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