Glooko Launches MeterSync Blue to enable Bluetooth upload of over 30 meters to Android and Apple devices – October 3, 2014

Executive Highlights

  • Glooko announced yesterday the launch of MeterSync Blue, a single piece of hardware enabling patients to Bluetooth upload data from over 30 glucose meters to Android and Apple iOS apps.
  • The retail price of MeterSync Blue will be $59, though Glooko hopes to get it to patients for free via contracts with payers and health systems.

Glooko announced yesterday the launch of MeterSync Blue, a single piece of hardware enabling patients to Bluetooth upload data from over 30 glucose meters (~90% of the market) to Android and Apple iOS apps (see pictures below). Unlike Glooko’s original MeterSync cable, which required a physical connection between the meter AND the Android/Apple device, MeterSync Blue only requires a physical connection to the meter, with results sent wirelessly to the app.

Glooko currently has a “long waiting list” for the product, including both providers/payers and patients that have signed up for more information. The company is focused on delivering Glooko for free to patients via contracts with payers and health systems, and these entities will receive significant bulk discounts on the MeterSync Blue. Glooko will continue to distribute direct-to-consumer to a limited degree through its own web-store, with a list price of $59. As a reminder, Glooko has a Population Tracker to enable payers and health systems to track many patients and reach out to those with dangerous readings. Glooko and Joslin also launched HypoMap in June, aimed at helping providers diagnose hypoglycemia unawareness. The press release shared that Dr. Zachary Bloomgarden of Mt. Sinai Medical Center is now using Glooko in his practice, adding to a customer list that includes the Joslin Clinic and Scripps.

MeterSync Blue has several key advantages over the previous product: (i) its Bluetooth enables millions of existing, non-connected meters worldwide; (ii) it’s less clunky for patients and providers to download the data relative to the prior cable (e.g., an adapter was required for the iPhone 5); (iii) since results are sent via the widely accepted Bluetooth protocol, it avoids the ‘iBGStar conundrum’ of relying on electronics makers to keep their physical connectors consistent (i.e., the change from Apple iPhone 4 to iPhone 5); (iv) for certain meters (J&J LifeScan’s OneTouch Ultra 2 and Ultra Mini, and Walmart’s ReliOn meters), MeterSync Blue can be left plugged in all the time, an enormous patient convenience that transforms those meters into 24/7 Bluetooth-enabled devices; and (v) Glooko’s product is now compatible with many more smartphones.

We had a chance to try MeterSync Blue earlier this week, and had it set up and transferring readings from a FreeStyle Lite meter to the Glooko app on an iPhone 5 in less than five minutes. In our view, Glooko has done an excellent job of providing a universal, easy, plug-and-play solution to a problem that still plagues providers and patients – downloading the vast array of glucose meters – and one that hasn’t become any easier with the proliferation of manufacturers in recent years. The company’s product roadmap includes integration with meters with built-in Bluetooth/cellular connectivity; compatibility with activity trackers, blood pressure monitors, and weight scales; adding integration with pump and CGM data (Asante was announced in June 2013); and improving the app’s reminder feature. We also hope for more tools to make clinicians’ and patients’ lives easier, such as decision support and pattern recognition. In our view, getting the data downloaded easily is only the first step – using it to help drive therapeutic change (with minimal interpretation) is what the field still desperately needs.    

  • Glooko now supports over 30 meters with MeterSync Blue – the company estimates that covers ~90% of the market. See the complete compatibility list here that includes meters from Abbott, Bayer, J&J/LifeScan, Roche, as well as CareSens, Nipro/CVS/RiteAid/Walgreens, GlucoCard, ReliOn, and others. Not every meter from every company is support (e.g., the OneTouch VerioSync and FreeStyle Insulinx are not support). On the company side, notable exceptions include Sanofi’s iBGStar and the AgaMatrix meters.
    • Glooko estimates that five years ago, only about 15 meters represented ~90% of the market. That has at least doubled by now, particularly due to the introduction and broader distribution of store-brand meters from companies like Nipro, which leads the store meter side. Said Glooko management in our conversation, “Glooko exists because there is not aggregation and consolidation taking place. There is more choice for patients than ever before. The model of getting all patients to use one device is not realistic.”
  • MeterSync Blue was covered under Glooko’s existing 510(k) application; the update was covered in letters to file, as the product’s intended use did not change. Glooko conducted usability testing prior to this launch; we’re not sure who many patients this included.
  • Glooko has already signed distributors in East Asia, who are particularly excited about MeterSync Blue. In this market, Android is the dominant phone type, though consumers have versions that aren’t sold in the US. The launch of MeterSync Blue expands Glooko’s reach to many new markets where Bluetooth is already a standard, but the previous hardwired cable was not compatible. Said Glooko management in our conversation with them, “Our device compatibility just went off the charts.” The distributor is responsible for regulatory filings in these geographies, though as we understand it, the FDA filing appears sufficient for Asian regulators.
  • Glooko perceives MeterSync Blue as the first step of a multi-year progression in making data aggregation easier. The company has the following innovations in the pipeline:

Pipeline Product


Integration with activity trackers/apps, blood pressure cuffs, and weight scales.

Would bring a new data stream into the Glooko app, enabling patients and providers to link glucose results to activity. Would also help centralize diabetes-related co-morbidity health data. Glooko has thought about integrating with Apple’s HealthKit, but at this point, it’s too early to know if this would be valuable to customers. We’re not sure of the timing.

Integration with meters that have built-in Bluetooth/cellular connectivity

Though no meters have been officially announced, the idea is to take meters such as LifeScan’s VerioSync (Bluetooth-enabled) and Telcare’s BGM (cellular) and directly send the results to the Glooko app – no Glooko hardware required. Companies, of course, put significant efforts to make their own proprietary apps, so it will be illuminating to see which manufacturers sign on.

Integration with pumps and CGM

Right now, Glooko’s commercially available app can only pull data from meters. Future integrations will bring in pump and CGM data. Asante was announced in June 2013, a full 15 months ago, on the pump side, meaning this has not moved particularly quickly On the CGM side, we assume it would be Dexcom, as Medtronic has never shown interest in partnering on the data front. We wonder how/if Glooko will work with Tidepool, as the non-profit is very focused on pump/CGM data with its platform.

Enhancing the reminder feature

For example, reminding patients when to test and when to take medication. This could be a huge win for adherence and we look forward to seeing what this rollout looks like – we could imagine push notifications, calendar reminders, etc. We also wonder whether Glooko is looking into gamification, such as mySugr does with its Companion App.

Close Concerns Questions

Q: What pump and CGM makers will integrate with Glooko’s platform?

Q: What is a bigger barrier to downloading diabetes devices – the time/hassle factor or the difficulty in interpreting the data?

Q: What would providers’ dream device data output look like – for BGM, for CGM, for pumps?

Q: What would patients’ dream device data output look like? What statistics and graphs are hardest for patients to interpret? What statistics and graphs are the most useful?

Q: How should companies balance the need for software that provides therapeutic recommendations with the burden of securing regulatory approval? Can companies circumvent the regulatory burden by providing recommendations to clinicians, rather than directly to patients?

Q: How should companies like Glooko balance report individualization with standardization (e.g., Ambulatory Glucose Profile)?

Q: In addition to Glooko, Tidepool and Diasend are taking a similar device-agnostic approach to data collection. How can these players work together?

Pictures of MeterSync Blue and Glooko App



-- by Adam Brown and Kelly Close