Some of the most commonly asked questions are listed below with answers.
Meters & Strips FAQs
Where can I get a new meter and strips?
You can select a First Canadian Health meter from a pharmacist.
What choice of meters is there?
Our flagship meter is the First Canadian Health SPIRIT meter.
Caring for your System
Use a soft cloth or tissue to wipe the meter exterior. If necessary, the soft cloth or tissue may be dipped in a small amount of alcohol.
Do not use organic solvents such as benzene, acetone or household and industrial cleaners that may cause irreparable damage to the meter.
- Do not expose the meter to direct sunlight or heat for an extended period of time.
- Do not let dirt, dust, blood or water enter into the meter’s test strip port.
- Do not drop the meter or submit it to strong shocks.
- Do not try to fix or alter the meter in any way.
- Keep the meter away from strong electromagnetic fields such as cell phones and microwave ovens.
- First Canadian Health SPIRIT meters should be used only with First Canadian Health SPIRIT strips.
- Keep the meter in a cool and well ventilated place.
- Store all the meter components in the portable case to prevent loss and meter damage.
What types of strips are available?
The First Canadian Health SPIRIT test strips are used First Canadian Health SPIRIT meter.
It is important to use the correct strips for each meter.
What features do the First Canadian Health products have?
- The First Canadian Health SPIRIT meter is a simple and smart option which calculates and displays the averages of total test results, as well as pre and post meal test results. It is ideal for those frequent testers who require alarms to remind them to test at meal times. The SPIRIT meter has a memory of 500 test values with time and date and 1, 7, 14, 30 and 90-day test averaging functions.
Where can I get replacement batteries for my meter?
Batteries are provided with all meters and a free replacement battery service is available as required for all First Canadian Health meters. Free batteries are available through the First Canadian Health website, use the Contact Us form to arrange for replacement.
Where can I collect additional logbooks?
The First Canadian Health meters come with logbooks for patients to record their blood glucose readings. If you require extra logbooks, you can arrange for additional logbooks by using our Contact Us form.
Will I have to buy lancets?
A lancing device and 5 lancets are included with every new First Canadian Health meter. Extra supplies of First Canadian Health lancets will be available for purchase from your pharmacy in boxes of 100.
How does First Canadian Health provide support to people with Type 1 and 2 diabetes?
First Canadian Health has been implementing a full and comprehensive implementation plan since 2013 to support the Canadian introduction of First Canadian Health blood glucose meters and strips.
- A full-time, fully trained team including customer services representatives, pharmacists, and sales and service staff, are dedicated to supporting customers
- A toll-free customer service number is available (855) 360-4515
- A dedicated First Canadian Health website (www.FirstCanadianHealth.ca) has been developed and contains up to date information about the products for users and health care professionals
- First Canadian Health provides ongoing liaison, support and sponsorship of key medical and diabetes conferences
Are quick Guides available in other languages?
Quick Guides for the First Canadian Health meters are available in English and French.
Manufacture and Supply
Which company manufactures the First Canadian Health meters?
The First Canadian Health range of blood glucose meters are manufactured by ARA Pharmaceuticals Inc. and fabricated by i-SENS, a South Korean biosensor and electrochemistry technology company that develops, produces and distributes products around the world.
i-SENS has successfully developed blood glucose monitoring systems including meters, strips and lancing devices, and has launched these products internationally, including Australia, America, Japan and Europe, while operating a world class production line. i-SENS has supplied several hundred million strips into the US Medicare market and the products are known for their high quality and accuracy.
What product testing, certification and registration do First Canadian Health products have?
First Canadian Health products are Health Canada, US FDA and Council of Europe registered, and are compliant with the requisite ISO standards.
Units of Use in Diabetes?
The unit of use with First Canadian Health and other brands of blood glucose meters in Canada is mmol/L. This is the concentration of glucose in venous blood plasma that is calculated from the measurement of glucose in capillary blood from the sample taken, usually from your fingers. This is a measurement of plasma glucose in mmol/L at a specific moment in time.
When you visit your doctor, it is likely that you will have your HbA1c measured by your local medical laboratory. This measures the average of your venous blood glucose concentration over the previous 90 days. This is now recorded as mmol/mol; previously it was measured as %. So HbA1c measures the average of all the varying plasma glucose levels over the previous 90 days and averages out all the lower and higher plasma glucose levels.
The measurement of HbA1c is a different measurement from a blood glucose measurement performed at the same time with your meter. They are measuring different things.
For further information see Guidelines in Diabetes Canada.
How is meter accuracy defined?
All blood glucose monitoring systems should comply with an international standard (ISO15197) that sets out performance standards for measurement of blood glucose concentrations in capillary blood samples, including system accuracy requirements when compared with laboratory testing in controlled conditions. First Canadian Health blood glucose monitoring systems comply with this standard.
Important points to note when testing (please do read the user manual and follow guidelines):
Personal hygiene: Your hands and the testing site need to be washed and clean. Ensure you rinse your hands of soap residue. Dry your hands thoroughly; wet skin will ‘dilute’ the blood droplet.
Meter cleanliness: Follow the directions for making sure the meter is cleaned and maintained properly.
Alternative site testing: Please consult your health care professional before using alternative site testing. Not all areas of the body have the best blood for testing.
Control solution: Use the control solution that came with your First Canadian Health meter to confirm that your First Canadian Health meter is measuring accurately. The Control Solution ranges are on the test strip vial label. If the meter tests of the control solutions are within the stated ranges then the meter is working accurately.
Temperature: Please ensure that you are testing within the defined temperature range.
Wrong test strips: Please ensure that you are using the correct strip with your meter. First Canadian Health SPIRIT meters use First Canadian Health SPIRIT test strips. Do not use another brand of test strips with First Canadian Health meters.
Improper testing procedure: possible errors include:
– too much (or not enough) blood on the test strip
Apply the end of the test strip into the blood droplet and allow the blood to enter the test strip and fill the little window on the top of the test strip. Remember to do this immediately after you have lanced your finger and a blood droplet appears; leaving the blood droplet on the finger even for several seconds can result in changes of glucose concentration in the blood droplet.
Sufficient blood sample for testing: please ensure that your hands and fingers are warm as if they are cold it is more difficult to extract a blood droplet. “Milking” your finger is a good way to extract a blood droplet. This means squeezing down the length of the finger before using the lancet to get blood from the finger tip. Use the first droplet immediately for testing after lancing the side of the finger – try not to squeeze the finger at the same time as obtaining a blood droplet as this can alter the concentration of glucose in the blood droplet.
Humidity and altitude: extreme humidity (>90%) or altitude (>3,000 metres) can affect testing accuracy.
Blood quality: sometimes the quality of the blood can affect your blood glucose meter accuracy. For example, certain medical conditions, treatments, medications and other substances can cause errors.
Can First Canadian Health meters be used during pregnancy?
Yes, First Canadian Health meters can indeed be used during pregnancy. However, due to possible changes in the red blood cell count during pregnancy, it is not unusual for pregnant women with diabetes to have to closely monitor their blood glucose readings and their hematocrit levels.
The range of hematocrit for the First Canadian Health meters is 20-60%. Individuals with very high (60% or more) or very low (20% or less) hematocrit may observe incorrect test results. In such circumstances medical advice should be sought.
A normal red blood cell count is in the 30-50% range. It may be below or over the normal range in newborns, pregnant women, or those suffering from serious anaemia.
Please consult your health care professional.
What risk of contamination to the strips is there?
Like any medical device proper practice and care needs to be taken when handling the First Canadian Health SPIRIT test strips. Washing and drying your hands before testing is recommended to avoid contamination on the electrode end of the strips.
Should your strip become contaminated, wet, or damaged, your First Canadian Health SPIRIT meter will show an ‘Er1’ message on the screen, which means the meter is identifying the strip as used.
It is also important to replace the lid of the vial after removing your test strips. If the vial is left open, the strips may become susceptible to humidity and blood glucose readings will be affected.
Additionally, if there is poor contact between the electronic sensors on the strip and the meter contacts, the error message will show.
Understanding Errors and Other Messages:
Should an error message appear on your meter, please see your owner’s booklet.