Blood Glucose Monitoring in Diabetes Care: When Innovation is Hidden In Plain Sight


Pharmacies have long embraced innovation and technology, with early adoption of telehealth and digital platforms.

One reason many of us work in health care is the sense of pride we feel about continual discovery and our own roles in making these innovations accessible to patients and providing ongoing educational support.

For diabetes, which affects 37 million Americans,1 there have been important strides, yet an alarming number of people living with this chronic condition do not meet their glycemic targets. This is due, in large part, to the fact that for many, the resources needed for everyday disease self-management are out of reach. As a result, the economic and clinical burden gets deeper and harder to solve every year.

Pharmacies have long embraced innovation and technology, with early adoption of telehealth and digital platforms. At my company, we are committed to innovation as well and make significant investments in AI, digital solutions, and product development, all with the goal of improving everyday disease management for people with diabetes, their families, and their health care teams.

What’s endlessly fascinating about innovation is that it presents in many forms and is sometimes in plain sight. Indeed, the most forward-thinking solution is sometimes the longest-standing.

It turns out that blood glucose monitoring, widely available both in the pharmacy and on retail shelves, not only revolutionized the treatment of diabetes 40 years ago,2 but continues to be the innovation that improves outcomes and also addresses the elephants in the room: access and affordability.

Data from a new retrospective analysis of administrative claims in non-intensively treated diabetes showed that self-monitoring blood glucose with meters is the more affordable option compared to continuous glucose monitors ($1193 less per person/year)3 and resulted in lower outpatient office visits (-$410, p<0.001).3 There were similar inpatient and emergency room admissions in both groups.

The study, Healthcare Costs of Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose compared with Continuous Glucose Monitoring in non-intensively treated Type 2 Diabetes in the Real World, is the first such analysis of this patient population that has the majority share in the health economic burden of diabetes.

For pharmacists and other health care professionals, the diabetes epidemic has meant increasing workloads combined with growing pressure to treat more people in less time with better outcomes, leaving them in need of a reliable blood glucose monitoring system that is easy to use and explain. Today’s blood glucose meters deliver results in under 4 seconds,4 are highly accurate, and are compatible with popular coaching and tracking apps.

Spot glucose monitoring costs less than $1 per day day.5 There are also saving initiatives available at the pharmacy and online retailers.

At Roche, we partner with pharmacies on a regional and national basis in many innovative ways, including co-pay discount cards such as GoodRx and Blink, and programs in-store or online to provide affordable access to our Accu-Chek blood glucose monitoring system.

Can the 40-year-old blood glucose meter technology really be the “innovation” in diabetes care that will help relieve the economic and individual burden of a disease that will affect almost 55 million Americans by 2030?6

Because blood glucose monitoring has proven to be affordable, accessible, helps people manage their disease and reduce complications, reduces office visits, and prevents them from neglecting or skipping diabetes self-care to save money, it’s an easy answer.

About the Author

Matt Jewett is senior vice president and general manager at Roche Diabetes Care.


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; (accessed 11/21/2022)

2. Stedman, M, Rea, R, Duff, CJ, et al. The experience of blood glucose monitoring in people with type 2 diabetes mellitis (T2DM). Endocrinol Diab Metab. 2022;5;e00302. 11/21/2022, Introduction, paragraph 1, sentences 1-2)

3. Kerr D, Healthcare costs of self-monitoring of blood glucose (SMBG) compared to continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) in non-intensively treated type 2 diabetes in the real world.
 Poster presented at ADA meeting June 2022.

4. Accu-Chek Guide Me system evaluation, Data on file.

5. Kaiser Health News, ‘Painless’ Glucose Monitors Pushed Despite Little Evidence They Help Most Diabetes Patients,

6. Rowley, W, Bezold, C et al. Diabetes 2030: Insights from Yesterday, Today, and Future Trends.Population Health Management, 2/1/17.,to%20more%20than%20%24622%20billion (accessed 11/21/2022)

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