Glucose meter analytical performance criteria required for safe and effective management of patients on tight glycemic control (TGC) are not currently defined. We used simulation modeling to relate glucose meter performance characteristics to insulin dosing errors during TGC. We used 29,920 glucose values from patients on TGC at 1 institution to represent the expected distribution of glucose values during TGC, and we used 2 different simulation models to relate glucose meter analytical performance to insulin dosing error using these 29,920 initial glucose values and assuming 10%, 15%, or 20% total allowable error (TEa) criteria. One-category insulin dosing errors were common under all error conditions. Two-category insulin dosing errors occurred more frequently when either 20% or 15% TEa was assumed compared with 10% total error. Dosing errors of 3 or more categories, those most likely to result in hypoglycemia and thus patient harm, occurred infrequently under all error conditions with the exception of 20% TEa. Glucose meter technologies that operate within a 15% total allowable error tolerance are unlikely to produce large (>or=3-category) insulin dosing errors during TGC. Increasing performance to 10% TEa should reduce the frequency of 2-category insulin dosing errors, although additional studies are necessary to determine the clinical impact of such errors during TGC. Current criteria that allow 20% total allowable error in glucose meters may not be optimal for patient management during TGC.

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