FreeStyle Libre: Diabetes Care During COVID-19

FDA allows U.S. hospitals to manage diabetes care with FreeStyle Libre 14 day system during coronavirus pandemic.

DIABETES CARE|May.04, 2020

Living through the coronavirus pandemic isn’t easy for anyone.

It’s an even greater challenge for those living with a chronic condition, particularly one that needs regular, round-the-clock monitoring.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), we can help patients and caregivers alike with diabetes care: The FreeStyle Libre 14 day system, the world's leading continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology,1 can now be used in the hospital setting during the COVID-19 pandemic with people with diabetes who can scan by themselves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half the people living with diabetes who have also been diagnosed with COVID-19 are in the hospital.

Healthcare professionals can monitor and track glucose activity without the demand of in-person fingersticks2 when patients with diabetes make a quick scan using a reader or smartphone over our FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensor, which measures real-time glucose readings every minute, showing current glucose, trends and actionable information that is shared with physicians to make important treatment decisions.

Moreover, opportunities to spread the novel coronavirus are minimized by remote monitoring, extending the usefulness of personal protective equipment (PPE) that has been in limited supply for frontline caregivers.

“There’s been a spike in demand for health technology as hospitals are looking for ways to minimize COVID-19 exposure, especially to high-risk patients such as people with chronic conditions like diabetes,” said Eugene E. Wright Jr., M.D., medical director for performance improvement, Charlotte Area Health Education Center in North Carolina. “Having access to technology like FreeStyle Libre 14 day system allows physicians to keep a close eye on hospitalized patients while minimizing transmission risks, PPE use and contact with hospital staff.”

In partnership with the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Insulin for Life USA and Diabetes Disaster Response Coalition, we have donated 25,000 FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensors to U.S. hospitals and medical centers in outbreak hotspots.

“We appreciate the FDA's quick action to make medical products available during this public health crisis," said Jared Watkin, senior vice president, Diabetes Care, Abbott. “By working with our partners at the American Diabetes Association to arm frontline healthcare workers with FreeStyle Libre technology, Abbott will enable them to protect and monitor their patients with diabetes, limit COVID-19 exposure and also manage the influx of critical care needs."

Beyond saving patients pain from sticking their fingers up to six-10 times a day,3 the system provides three key pieces of data with each one-second scan:

  • Real-time glucose result.
  • An 8-hour historical trend.
  • And a trend arrow showing the direction their glucose is going.

Our FreeStyle Libre ecosystem includes digital tools like smartphone apps (FreeStyle LibreLink4 and LibreLinkUp) and LibreView5 (a cloud-based data system) that allow users, caregivers and doctors to connect remotely with real-time glucose data and actionable information to help make important treatment decisions through LibreView a secure, cloud-based diabetes management system.


1Data on file, Abbott Diabetes Care. Data based on the number of users worldwide for the FreeStyle Libre system compared to the number of users for other leading personal use, sensor-based glucose monitoring systems.
2Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.
3American Diabetes Association Standards of medical care in diabetes 2014.  Diabetes Care January 2014, v37 suppl1 s21-22.
4The FreeStyle LibreLink app is compatible with NFC-enabled smartphones running Android OS 5.0 or higher and iPhone 7 or later running iOS 11 or later. Use of the FreeStyle LibreLink app requires registration with LibreView, a service provided by Abbott and Newyu, Inc.
5LibreView is developed, distributed, and supported by Newyu, Inc. The LibreView data management software is intended for use by both patients and healthcare professionals to assist people with diabetes and their healthcare professionals in the review, analysis and evaluation of historical glucose meter data to support effective diabetes management. The LibreView software is not intended to provide treatment decisions or to be used as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.