Roche debuts smart glucose monitor for hospital use


Roche has launched what it says is a first-of-its-kind handheld glucose management device, backed up by a digital platform that aims to simplify the work of doctors and nurses as they deliver care to patients.

The cobas pulse system is a point-of-care device that combines a glucose test strip reader with a touch screen that is used for displaying patient information and data, as well as analysing and sharing clinical results.

It is designed to allow clinicians to take immediate action on blood glucose management data at the patient's bedside, and according to Roche, "combines the form factor of a high-performance blood glucose meter with simple usability and expanded digital capabilities similar to that of a smartphone".

The Android-powered device can run certified third-party software, initially shipping with a handful of apps, including Glytec's Glucommander insulin-dosing software under the terms of a deal announced today.

In trials, the Glucommander algorithm has been shown to reduce severe low blood sugar episodes, shorten hospital stays and prevent hospital re-admissions.

The cobas pulse system also features a camera to record images that can be incorporated into patient notes and scan barcodes and a secure login system to help safeguard patient data. The unit is rechargeable, wipe clean so it can be easily disinfected, and can be used hands-free, according to Roche.

The company said it plans to introduce the new system shortly in selected European countries under the CE mark framework and will file for approval in other markets, including the US, before year-end.

"Frontline health workers are under increasing pressure to not only accurately diagnose patients, but also make appropriate decisions on all aspects of disease management and patient care," commented Thomas Schinecker, chief executive of Roche's diagnostics division.

"We are pleased to introduce a truly novel solution that puts actionable clinical insights, and a near limitless range of digital capabilities for patient care, in the palms of their hands," he added.

The company has already formed partnerships with other third-party software developers to extend the functions of cobas pulse, which are already bundled with the unit, ready for download, or will be available soon.

Those packages include S4DX' Satellite app for sample management, imito's medical image and documentation handling software, decide's GlucoTab insulin dosing tool,  CardioSignal for monitoring cardiac rhythms, and SteadySense's continuous temperature measurement tool SteadyTemp.