Moments of Wonderful

…rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

Moments of Wonderful - …rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

mySugr Companion – Product Review

A few diabetes appsA few days ago, Scott Johnson contacted me on behalf of his friend Kyle Rose, asking if I would like to try out a new diabetes logging app – mySugr. As you can see from my diabetes app page on my phone, I am always willing to try an app that promises to make living with diabetes a little bit easier. The bar is set quite high however, for continued use of any of these apps. If there is no value added, it is not worth the time it takes to use it (sidenote: GoMeals is at the top of my list – best app for eating out).

Setting up mySugr was pretty easy. I did get a little confused with the slider bar (pictured below) though. I thought it wanted to know my insulin to carb ratio for some sort of meal calculation. Like a lot of people, I have a different ratio for different meals. Then when I entered my first meal in the logbook, I quickly realized that the slider bar was to set up for exchanges. Apparently some people still use those! (Just leave the bar all the way to the left)

setting up the app

lunchtime pointsI’ve only been using the app for a few days, so I am still trying out all the features. I logged my lunch yesterday and earned a bunch of points (more on the purpose of points later). It’s nice that I could earn points for things that I do anyway. There was an opportunity to earn more points by logging my location. I am not sure why the logbook would need my location, I don’t understand the benefit for me, and the safety and privacy issues are just too high for me to consider including that information. I was able to squeeze in a little time on my WiiFit after work today and earned points for logging that activity as well.

So what’s the point of points? To be totally honest, I am not sure yet. The progress bar on the home screen helps keep track of the points and the goal is 50 points per day. I obviously have not reached that point yet. There are additional challenges I can participate in, and one of them is at least somehow tied to a donation to a diabetes organization.

completing a challenge for JDRF

There are clear benefits to the mySugr app. It is easy to log BGs, food, insulin usage, and exercise all in one place. The inclusion of the monster makes a boring task a little more fun (especially when you can name it after a friend). The points are a great bonus, and rumor is that the connections to diabetes organizations are going to get stronger. If I can raise money for my favorite diabetes organizations by doing something that takes maybe five minutes out of my day, that is something that would definitely motivate me to use the app.

progress and points

As is the case with most diabetes apps, I am left wondering if I am the target market. I have an appointment with a new endocrinologist on Friday. I can almost guarantee you that he will have no interest in looking at any of the information from the app. If I can trap him in the room long enough, he will probably look at my Dexcom reports and my pump and meter information from Diasend. If doctors are not taught how to use a mobile app and/or do not understand the benefits of the app, they are not going to encourage their patients to use it.

my logbook so farI am left with the same issue that I end up with on most diabetes apps. What is the value added? Why should I use this app in addition to the other steps in my diabetes management?

I am planning to keep an eye on the app and the updates and continue to experiment with it as more features are rolled out in the United States. If you’ve got an iPhone (Android soon), I’d suggest downloading it and seeing if it fits with your current diabetes management plan or can improve your management and help you tame that diabetes monster.

Disclosure: I was invited to review the mySugr app before it officially launched on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. I was not compensated for this review, and as always, all thoughts and feelings are my own. The mySugr app is now available for download for free in the App Store. For a more comprehensive review, please read Scott’s post.



P.S. The writing of this post was interrupted by a fire truck, ambulance, and hairball. Apologies for any confusion or gaps in information.

  • katy says:

    I feel like things are happening slowly, but that we’re almost at the point where they’ll start happening FAST. Like…mySugr will be on the phone and that will be how you communicate with the pump and the Dexcom will be part of this imaginary future too.

    I like the look of mySugr.

    June 6, 2013 at 7:20 am
  • katy says:

    I have to go get GoMeals now. Bye.

    June 6, 2013 at 7:21 am
  • Scott K. Johnson says:

    Thank you, Sara! Great of you to help us spread the word.

    I need to disclose that I have a business relationship with mySugr, so my views are surely a bit biased. 🙂

    One idea with the points is earning enough each day to “tame” your diabetes monster (Scott J in your case). When that happens, the little guy gets locked down in chains and his mouth gets zipped shut! Haha! It’s a way of saying “I’ve done a lot of work to take care of myself today, so I’m not going to take anymore grief from you! Zip it!”

    As for the location, imagine your friend takes you out to their favorite restaurant again. You don’t go there often enough to have the menu figured out, like you might at your favorite place. But you’ve eaten there, and logged it, a few times in the past. Would it be helpful if you could pull up the last three times you ate there, showing what you ate, how much insulin you took, and what your BG’s did afterward? Might that help you make decisions about what to order this time?

    mySugr is also registered as a medical device with the FDA (18 month process) which opens up all sorts of doors for the future.

    These guys are just getting started with all of the cool stuff in mySugr, and it is clear to me that we’re going to see some pretty cool things from them.

    June 6, 2013 at 8:26 am
  • Harrison Hughes says:

    That was a pretty fair overview of the app. To offer some additional insight (I have no affiliation with the maker of the app), I like the fact that points are being offered and a game is being made of it. If we have to test and can play a game for a reward, then at least it may serve to be motivational.
    Also it may help those who have not had diabetes as long as us, as they associate their actions being rewarded and realizing these are of benefit to a diabetes result. The more this is reinforced through points, the more potential that the behavior will be to continue (habit forming)

    Thank you for taking the time to review it, I do feel your points are relevant.
    One last note. Not everyone is able to use continuous glucose monitors so maybe thats where the real benefit lies, for those still doing conventional blood testing.
    Thoughts?
    Harrison

    June 7, 2013 at 11:29 am
  • Sarah - Sugabetic (@SugabeticMe) says:

    I do use the location, but not the GPS. I put in if I’m at work, home, eating out, etc, so I can see how my BG compares to different places. I guess you could use tags too though, but I do it out of habit from using the app as long as I have now.

    June 24, 2013 at 11:58 am
  • matt stockton says:

    Just a note. I have been using mysugr for about 1 month. As you mentioned, I find the entry to be very easy. I like the free app alows me to download all my records. I import into excel and can graph to my hearts content. Finally you get a weekly report that I think has very good trend info. The whole monster thing is a little juvenile. I use the location info to help jog my memory about what was going on when I got a hyper. You can make it as generic as you would like e.g. “work”.

    I am now eager to try gomeals

    October 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

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