Smartphone app hits Europe for Abbott’s continuous glucose monitor

Abbott announced Feb. 7 the FreeStyle LibreLink smartphone application—to be used alongside the company’s continuous glucose monitor—is now available to iPhone and Android users in 12 European countries.

The app allows diabetic patients to access their glucose data directly on their smartphones. Previously, they would need to carry a separate, handheld device to scan the FreeStyle Libre sensor and get a glucose reading.

By holding their smartphone near the sensor, users can view real-time glucose levels, eight-hour glucose history and how their glucose is changing. They can also add notes to track food, insulin use, medication and exercise, and share information with healthcare professionals and caregivers through related applications, according to a press release.

"We're committed to bringing life-changing technology and tools to liberate people from the many hassles of diabetes management," said Jared Watkin, Abbott’s senior vice president of diabetes care. "The FreeStyle LibreLink app is a digital health tool that integrates glucose data directly on a smartphone so everything is all in one place. This is another step forward in making glucose monitoring seamlessly fit into a patient's daily lifestyle—helping them live a fuller, healthier life."

The app is freely available to people in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Abbott said it is working to provide mobile apps to other countries based on their specific regulatory approval processes.

The FreeStyle Libre system was approved by the FDA in September. At the time, Watkin said the approval represented “an end to the worry and hassles associated with routine finger sticks which have been the standard of glucose testing for more than 40 years.”

The device is the size of two stacked quarters and can be applied to the back of the upper arm, where it gives real-time updates of glucose levels. A trial of 252 adults with type 1 diabetes showed users of the FreeStyle Libre checked their glucose more often, reduced finger sticks by 91 percent and spent 38 percent less time in hypoglycemia than patients who used the traditional finger-pricking method.