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Digital Pharma: Glucose monitoring for the Nintendo generation

pharmafile | January 20, 2010 | Feature | Medical Communications Bayer, diabetes, digi, digi game, digital pharma 

The Nintendo DS that arrived in our house on Christmas has already become my eldest son’s most favourite present of all time ever, and I suspect he would even forgo television for just a few more goes on Lego Star Wars.

It’s this kind of product loyalty Bayer is looking to tap into with its new Nintendo DS compatible meter to ensure children with diabetes regularly test their blood glucose levels.

The Didget meter, praised in our A Year In Digital series last year, plugs directly into the popular gaming systems, and by doing so children can collect rewards for keeping up with their testing regime.

Bayer has also produced an adventure game for the DS that works with the Didget system and is designed especially for children with diabetes.

Knock ‘Em Downs: Worlds Fair was produced in partnership with Guidance Interactive Healthcare, whose founder Paul Wessel now works for Bayer Diabetes Care.

Wessel noticed that although his son was constantly losing his blood glucose meter, he could always find his Nintendo Game Boy, sparking the idea for a product that could combine gaming and blood monitoring.

Bayer’s Didget is already available in the UK and Ireland, and it looks like the next European launches will be in Croatia and Slovenia.

There’s also a US push on the cards after the FDA cleared the monitoring system for launch last December.

Bayer’s online diabetes community for children

To support the product Bayer has built an exclusive password-protected web community for Didget users, where they can play games and add their scores on the system’s mini-games.

Styled as “a place where children can go to hang out and have fun”, it also offers fun characters and the chance for users to collect points earned through testing to customise their own page on the site.

Points are collected for things like blood glucose test results within a personalised target range, the number of tests per day and the minimum time between tests. Bonus points can also be earned for consistently testing at least three times per day every day for at least one week, and again if they consistently test for up to 90 days.

For adults Bayer’s USP could be its USB

Bayer has also developed a new way for adult diabetics to test their blood glucose levels with its Contour USB monitoring system.

This can store up to 2,000 test readings and plug, via a USB port, directly into a PC or Mac.

It launches in the UK and Ireland later this year and is already available in Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the US.

Dominic Tyer is web editor for Pharmafocus and and the author of the Digital Pharma blog. He can be contacted via email, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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