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Home Medical Monitoring Made Difficult?

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One complaint cited by some users in the study was that it takes too long for the monitor to give a result, but Hager says getting a blood drop and running the glucose measurement only takes 30 seconds. A new machine is coming next week that only takes five seconds.

And James Bond-like monitors are hitting the stores, Hager says. One is a watch that measures blood sugar through the skin using an electrical current.

The machines also show -- in sequence -- prompts either by picture or words that ensure that a patient will do the steps in the correct order, Alford says.

Hager and Alford also say that most of the meters are self-calibrating. Rogers and her team had cited this as one stumbling block for many people in using the devices.

Nonetheless, Rogers says the purpose of their study was to illustrate the types of health-endangering problems people encounter with self-use medical devices in general. They want to encourage developers to make changes that will make the gadgets safer.

Above all, Rogers explains, they want people to know that it's not their fault if they have problems with these types of equipment. "We all tend to blame ourselves if something doesn't work right."

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