It is those uniquely valuable features that set an application apart from the alternatives. The goal of this article is to raise awareness of the best by comparing applications that have been consistently updated and have something extra to make them noteworthy; - they stand out from the pack - feature-wise.
Collectively, the list below represents nearly 3 million downloads from the Playstore.
After carrying out this analysis, one thing that stands out is that because there are no two cases of Diabetes that are identical, apps that excel at personalization of care are among the best. In addition, they also have development teams that are highly responsive to customer support questions and queries.
The Diabetes Android App Contenders for 2022
To make it easy, we’ve compiled a list according to how good the apps are, starting with the best (so feel free to skip the rest) and then moving on to the rest, highlighting why they have been chosen for inclusion. Each has something to recommend it.
Diabetes Application - Feature Sets
There are both Free, and Premium featured versions for most of these applications. These features vary greatly between apps. Typically, upgrading will get you much more than just downloadable data but attractive, easy-to-understand reports. It's the time-saving features that are the true unique selling points of each app - which of them greatly adds value for you vs. what the competitors have to offer, and at what price point?
1. DiabTrend - The best Diabetes App on the Android Playstore
DiabTrend belongs in the first place position because it provides features for free that are only available at a premium price in other applications. When considering the alternatives, it is clear that DiabTrend puts the diabetic first by empowering the user to self-manage their condition, assisting them to make the massive lifestyle changes necessary for either management in the case of type 1 diabetes, and condition reversal in the case of type 2 diabetes.
The app has the most innovative AI-based diabetes diary application available, including food tracking with fast, camera-based food recognition:
- Automatic calorie and carbohydrate calculation
- The built-in Artificial Intelligence learns from your diabetes diary to assist you in making better decisions. Enables the prediction of blood glucose levels for up to 4 hours, helping you to avoid hypo and hyperglycemic events.
- Integration with Sensors and health applications such as Apple Fit and Google Fit for monitoring purposes.
- DiabTrend is patient-centric, enabling you, - the patient, to share data and data visualization of your condition with your current doctor. Moving house or healthcare provider shouldn't mean you need to change the app you use, ensuring continuity of data.
- Professional Health Reporting
- Works offline, avoids the inconvenience of backtracking to add data due to internet outages.
- A well-established, active developer that responds to feedback and feature improvement suggestions while providing friendly and responsive technical support.
- Innovates as new diabetes risk factors are discovered to improve treatment.
DiabTrend enables the personalization of treatment through AI. It learns about you and your metabolism through your data.
It enables the logging of:
Obvious Risk Factors
- Blood Glucose Levels
- Food / Meals
- Weight (most apps don’t include this data)
- Sleep (many other apps don't have this)
- Blood pressure
- Vaccinations (effect mitigation)
- Hypo Episodes
In addition, DiabTrend provides Diabetes-friendly recipes for you to select from, which can help you to find delicious meals that are diabetes and budget-friendly.
Like most of the available apps listed here, DiabTrend is based on a Freemium model; basic features are provided for free, but for a small fee, advanced features of great value can be accessed. DiabTrend’s free plan is DiaVital which contains a great feature set well beyond the average and vs. the alternatives, including reporting.
Our paid plan DiaPremium provides access to AI-based food recognition, blood glucose level prediction, the glycemic index, and a recipes database for foods, features which are nice to have but not necessary. In other ways, it is not limited, making it far better value than the competitor play store apps.
DiabTrend comes top for those individuals trying to manage or reverse their diabetes through diet. While enabling the customer to share their data with any healthcare professional if they choose to do so, via a simple QR code. At the same time it enables the tracking of all kinds of data (table above).
2. mySugr Diabetes Tracker Log on the Playstore
The mySugr app has a large number of users in Germany, where it is prescribed by doctors in the national healthcare system. The app synchronizes with the Accu-Chek range of continuous blood glucose meters and has some nice features. Of particular note:-.
- mySugr Pump Control, a recent feature addition that enables pump users to deliver their bolus via the mySugr Android app. Also includes a bolus calculator.
- A nice touch for personalization is the customizable login screen, placing those used features right where you need them.
- Gamification challenges to help manage your blood glucose levels are nice to have
- Manual Smart search among meals, notes, and activities “find patterns and learn from your diabetes data”.
The German national healthcare system and Roche must be applauded for seeing the value of a diabetes tracker as a form of prevention and management of diabetes during COVID-19 when diabetes sufferers were at higher risk of complications and for providing it free of cost. It's no wonder that mySugr has a Playstore ranking of 4.4 and now has well over a million downloads from the Playstore.
For those choosing a blood glucose monitor from the Accu-Chek range of monitors, the PRO version of the mySugr app is free (included within the cost of the monitor purchase). Reports are only available on their PRO plan.
The above information does not make mySugr the best option for the majority of people, while it would certainly be an interesting option for those living in Germany. It is ideally suited for those who rely on a bolus pump, someone who has yet to purchase a blood glucose monitor, such as those recently diagnosed.
3. Diabetes:M Android App on the Playstore
The Diabetes:M app seems to be primarily focused on healthcare professionals, who pay to monitor their patients online via a range of plans.
The one word that describes Diabetes:M is “complex” for the patient, the tiny text font makes it far from user-friendly for the majority of patients (a large percentage of sufferers are over 50, precisely when eyesight starts to deteriorate).
Due to the high complexity, this app is certainly not for everyone.
This complexity is required for healthcare professionals who use the data to base treatment decisions on, and therefore, it has a vast array of reports. The plans start at €29 for the BASIC plan, for which 5 premium users (patients) can be monitored; of course, the higher the plan, the more you get for your money, so it provides an incentive for healthcare professionals to sell the product to their patients despite the app’s clear usability deficits.
This application goes far beyond the needs of most people dealing with a diagnosis of prediabetes or diabetes.
It is perhaps, therefore, a good option for those with complicated cases of diabetes, for example, those with cases complicated by other diseases or those who are unresponsive to treatment and where data is needed to make difficult decisions.
It is not for those looking to self-manage through diet and lifestyle choices.
Not surprisingly, Diabetes:M is best for those patients who need regular contact with a specialised healthcare provider that is accustomed to using it and analyzing data from it.
4. Diasend / Glooko Android App on the Playstore
The play store app formerly known as Glooko was purchased by diasend and is now being rebranded as diasend. Like the Diabetes:M application reviewed previously, it is designed for healthcare providers and is healthcare-centric, placing reliance on healthcare professionals.
The Glooko website still uses the Glooko branding, which is clearly aimed at healthcare providers with a tagline of “Personalized Remote Patient Monitoring For Diabetes And Other Related Conditions”.
However, compared to Diabetes:M, the range of reports and features is far smaller, that being said, the app is much easier to use, - more user-friendly.
This application is not just a food tracker but also an activity tracker and medication tracker, designed to show the impact that these have on glucose levels.
The diasend app connects with well over 100 blood glucose monitoring devices in one way or another (infrared, cable or Bluetooth pairing), and so if you already have a blood glucose monitor, then it is likely that you can use it with this play store app. It is for this reason - connectivity that the app is listed here.
Compared to the other apps listed here their Play store app score is far below the alternatives, so, it's hard to recommend them vs. the alternatives.
5. Hedia - Android App on the Playstore
The Hedia play store app is perhaps the most user-friendly in this list, which is why it is listed here. Its simplicity and basic features have merit. It's clear to read and understand, making it ideal for managing blood sugar levels, ideal for those who do not intend to radically alter what they eat and may rely on insulin.
The Hedia - Personal Diabetes app provides:
- Exercise tracking
- Diet Tracking
- Insulin dose calculation
- Provides notifications when blood glucose should be measured.
The application then provides insulin dose recommendations for those who require it. Whether this application is for you, really depends on your needs. It may well suit older diabetes sufferers. Note that the application is not available in many countries, and is rarely seen on Google’s play store search results. If you search for it in the store, it may not be found in some countries in the EU, despite the developer being located in Denmark.
6. BlueStar Android App on the Playstore
The BlueStar Diabetes application claims that it was the world’s first prescription-only smartphone application, released way back in 2014. Consequently, it is only available in the US through employers, health plans, and health care providers. Outside of the app, there is a distinct lack of information about the application, and cannot be found on the Playstore in many locations.
Since 2013 WellDoc has had FDA approval for type 1 diabetes, albeit through a different version of the app, which integrates with the Dexcom continuous glucose monitors. The application itself is provided to the patient for free of charge on a prescription basis and will be reimbursed in a similar fashion to prescription drugs in the United States.
According to welldoc, the app provides-
- Easy tracking.
- Customized guidance.
- On-demand education.
WellDoc has opted to provide the app in a personalized fashion, starting with the initial setup, which is done one-on-one or face-to-face with a certified diabetes educator. It is for this reason that it has been listed here.
7. Intellin Diabetes Management by Gendius Ltd (Android application)
Based out of the UK and approved by (validated) the National Health Service. The Intellin Diabetes Management app's unique selling point is a feature that assesses a patient's risk of developing complications associated with Diabetes. They sell their product based on the idea that common test results, when inputted into the application, can predict potential future complications. For example, tests such as blood chemistry (HDL, LDL, and kidney function) can provide indicators of diabetes-associated health problems. Consequently, treatment can be personalized using this additional data to prevent high-risk complications caused by Diabetes.
In summary, historically, most diabetes apps have been ‘rear view mirrors’ – i.e., you can see where you’ve been. Intellin® lets you do this too, but importantly it acts as a ‘SatNav’ to help you plot the route ahead.
However, the idea that the additional data would make a difference to the treatment received is a bit of a stretch, simply because these tests are done anyway. The data obtained is assessed by medical professionals prior to any treatment recommendation. Blood pressure and blood chemistry (HDL, LDL, and kidney function) are only tested when there is a reason to test, symptoms displayed, etc., unlike blood glucose levels which need constant monitoring.
From the perspective of prevention and escalation of complications, the application is useful as an early warning system for detecting further diabetes-related problems which might otherwise be missed if all the data is not assessed together.
The application is easy to use, and the design is clear and easy to understand; it can be used with the GlucoMen Areo blood glucose monitor using NFC to connect; in addition, it connects with over 150 other devices in a variety of ways to bring data into the Intellin android application.
8. Glucose Buddy by Azumio Android App on the Playstore
The Glucose Buddy Diabetes Tracker is 9 years old now, which they promote as a strength; they promote this as reliability and their unique selling point which is that they claim that they are the #1 leading diabetes management service. In combination with 500,000-lifetime downloads, it sounds convincing, which is why the app is on this list. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Just because they were the first to market on the Digital Diabetes Management Market - does that make them the best?
Perhaps once they were the best, when they were one of the few. Over the years, the Glucose Buddy Diabetes Tracker application has become part of a wider suite of business services that they sell as packages, including personal diabetes coaching and, in the pro version of the application, performance reports and an automatic hemoglobin A1C calculator.
The mid-range package of $29 per month has a three-month commitment because it includes a smart glucose meter, along with 50 testing strips for it, delivered right to your door.
The strategy of adding value to a digital app by adding a physical product and coaching in its use is a good way to compete in an increasingly innovative, competitive, and crowded market and is extremely helpful for the patient.
By providing testing strips as part of the service Glucose Buddy ensures that it is always convenient to test which in turn makes it easy to log the data on a regular basis, and when otherwise necessary. Personal coaching is also a good way to ensure the customer (patient) learns how to manage their condition with their application, thus ensuring loyalty.
This model of operating, - delivering testing strips will become obsolete within the next few years due to advances in AI and machine learning, which will turn the invasive pinprick blood glucose monitoring devices into electronic waste as a new generation of UV-light-based and electrical continuous blood glucose monitoring devices become available. Thereafter, Glucose Buddy will no longer be able to rely on service loyalty, as their customer base looks for non-invasive testing alternatives (delivery service not required), and may struggle to attract new customers as innovative applications with cutting-edge features (such as DiabTrend) will displace those older applications.
As we learn more and more about the contributing causes of Diabetes (there are many risk factors), more and more personal data is needed for analysis to make better decisions and recommendations on treatment. Smartphone applications are vital for monitoring and managing, taking all the various factors into consideration. Therefore for android users, Android Diabetes application features should drive the decision of which application to use and which blood glucose monitoring device to invest in.
Unfortunately, 99% of the devices out there will become obsolete/retired in the next few years. What matters today, in terms of the application you choose, is the development in the pipeline. The key questions are:-
- What data is stored?
- Ask yourself the question, - if the data collected is of real benefit to managing your diabetes?
- How is the data used by the application?
The data will be of value if it is collected, allowing you, the patient, to track the data over time, regardless of how well that collected data is integrated into the available features set. Usually, new data sets lead to new features - created to make the best use of the information for personalization.
The app descriptions above highlight the need to investigate the applications prior to use; star ratings, Facebook likes, and follows are only superficial indicators of value.
Updated July 2022