My iPhone and I have an unhealthy relationship.
Call it co-dependency, call it obsession, call it whatever you want, but it’s always within reach.
I’ve had a mobile phone since the early 90s. My very first job after university was individual/corporate mobile sales, back when reps made a lot of money and plans were not “unlimited talk time”. I had a handheld (ooohh…. Motorola MicroTAC), an installed mobile, and…I kid you not… a mobile fax machine in my car. I calculated once that the amount I talked in a single month, if I had to pay for the service, would have run me over $6,000 if I hadn’t worked for the carrier. There’s a long history of me loving mobile technology. Having an iPhone giving me access to data and apps just heightens the rush.
I have long lamented the technology shortcomings when it comes to diabetes tracking management. For some reason, the tech world can’t seem to get the concept of what information we need to keep us on top of it all. Some were clunky, some were lacking key info tracking, and some were just downright worthless. Search after search for iPhone apps that claim to make diabetes lifestyle tracking easy came up short.
An opportunity presented itself recently for me to test the new U.S. version of mySugr on my iPhone before it’s official launch on June 4th here in the States and I jumped on it. It only seems natural that if I was going to track my daily challenge with a non-functioning pancreas, it would have to be with my iPhone.
From the get go, I was hooked. It’s easy and fast to input data and simple to use. That’s what I wanted and now I have a diabetes tracking management tool that fits me and my iPhone addiction. I give it two thumbs up (and even more thumbs if I could borrow them…)
Set-up was a breeze. You can select your type of insulin therapy (pens/syringes, pump, or even no insulin), your thresholds for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and your target range. I had a little glitch setting up my carbs, as an accidental initial swipe had me putting in “exchanges” instead of “grams”.
Want to enter data? Push the big plus button in the right hand corner and a screen opens with the time and location filled in for you. Input your blood glucose, carbohydrates, bolus, temp basal, activity, and notes. Other apps I’ve played with have been restrictive in what you could add, but I love the ability to enter a description of what I’m eating (and even take a picture of it!) as well as a detailed note about what’s going on at that moment. You can also add tags based on how you’re feeling, food intake, or activity level.
Once you’ve inputed your info, the main screen will show you your overall information, including a seven day BG average, deviation, number of carbs taken in, and (I love this) how many hypos/hypers you’ve had based on your BGs. There’s a graph that changes colors based on where your blood glucose level sits at that point. Red (boo), orange (less boo), and green (yippee).
If you’re looking for more in-depth analysis, you can go to the… Analysis screen (I know. They did a great job naming that.) to check out averages by month, 14 and 7 days, and the last 24 hours. This was really helpful to me to see on one screen. There’s also a reports page that you can export and print out (mighty helpful to bring to your endo!) and if you upgrade to the Pro package, there’s additional reports options.
Using mySugr became an easy part of my diabetes management routine. iPhone went next to my meter. Check blood sugar, quick input into the app and off I went. My little monster (which I named Lazy Pancreas) would growl appropriately onscreen or silently purr in contentment (it does have sound, but with a two year old who wants to hold anything that makes noise, it’s on mute). In a previous post, I admitted that I was part of the problem managing my diabetes, and mySugr has become a tool to help sweep away that feeling of frustration.
Now, you know me. I’m not quiet about what I like and what I don’t like, so here goes…What would I change about the app? I’d add a few things:
- There’s no pop-up reminders. Gosh, I have reminders with stupid games on my phone if I haven’t opened the app, so it would be easy to add this feature. Just a pop up on occasion saying: “Hey, noticed you haven’t put your BG in mySugr in a while…”
- Ability to put in a reminder to change my infusion set/CGM. (File that under pop-up reminder, perhaps.)
- A more comprehensive FAQ. I know that that I said that it’s easy to use, but I’m a believer that if you have an FAQ that gives you detailed info on all the tools, you’ll use it more. (And I was frustrated with the carbs/exchanges slider for a few days and if I hadn’t asked someone within the company, I would have bailed on the app, which would have been a shame. It was a point that could have been easily solved with an FAQ.) Same with the graphing. A FAQ on that would be splendiferous.
- There’s no graphical component in the report section. I’d love a graph to print out and pour over.
- I’d like the ability to move the tags around or add additional tags. I don’t use a lot of them, but some that I do require scrolling and others I would probably never use (like the “Chilling” tab… never used it, but the “Stress” tab got a lot of play). If I could move the tabs that I use most to the front screen and add ones that I’d like to see (“Severe Hypo”), that would be very cool.
These aren’t big things – and they’re not deal breakers. I am loving this app.
I won’t get into the “cutesy” factor – you can name your “diabetes monster” that you try to tame by logging your information and keeping track of everything. You may love or hate the way the monster changes colors or quips silly things when you enter your blood glucose. The founders of the company wanted to make the app fun to use with a points and challenge system that can give you free days of their Pro version. (As I was testing pre iTunes availability, I didn’t use the Pro version.)
Personally, I’m sold… and best of all, it’s free. It’s available for iPhones and Android phones. If you’re looking for one sweet app for diabetes… it’s mySugr.
If you want to learn more, you can go to their website. You can also check out the company on Twitter and Facebook and listen to what other users have to say. My friend, Scott Johnson, gives his review about mySugr as well.
Please note: I have not received any financial compensation for this review and have no business relationship with the company, although gosh darn it, I wish I could work with them – seems like a fun bunch of very smart people who know what diabetics are looking for in an app.