Ever since Premium was announced, there have been some unanswered questions about why we had to make the switch from a one-time ad removal license, to a subscription based service. In this article, we will explain in more detail why this change was necessary, as well as the numerous benefits to users it provides. To do that, first, we have to take a short trip down memory lane.
Diabetes:M was created by Rossen Varbanov back in 2013, as an Android based app for him to track his own T1D. Up to that point, there was no reliable tool that tracked all the needed information for the condition. The app was released for free use to everyone, with some ads (and a license to remove them) to cover the development expenses.
Three years later, the app was already ranked as one of the very best in its category. It was helping more than 30 000 users manage their day-to-day struggle with diabetes. Rossen knew his own efforts can only bring the app to a point, so he started to search for an investor, to help bring Diabetes:M to even more people who need a truly great tool for managing the disease. In early 2016, Sirma Group Holding, one of the largest software development groups in Bulgaria, accepted the challenge.
Sirma Medical Systems was born, and new opportunities opened to improve the app for the ever growing user base. The team quickly expanded, and by the end of summer ’16 included four more experienced people – iOS and Web Service developers, a Quality Assurance/Customer service specialist and a Marketing expert.
With the help of this team, In just 3 months, Diabetes:M was reimagined to provide a much better, and far more reliable service. The graphic interface was completely redesigned, in order to provide a more beautiful and meaningful user experience. In the span of just 6 months, a brand new iOS version and Web Service were developed and published.
However, In order to support future development, some changes were required.
Cloud and Subscription service
In the development process, numerous problems arose with 3rd party services like Google Drive, Dropbox, and the PDF/XSL creation tools in the app. Constant changes made their usage unreliable and forced us to find a better alternative. With the upcoming iOS and Web versions, these options were practically impossible to implement.
In order to be able to provide a seamless, effortless and reliable service, the decision was made to develop our own secure cloud service, where user data is not subject to 3rd party intervention or free access. This made possible automatic multiple device synchronizations, PDF and XLS exports/imports on iOS and a better PDF creation for all devices. It also keeps user data secure and backed up in case of unexpected device crashes, loss or change, and other similar problems. It also allowed us to greatly expand the food database, allowing us to add many more items and add unique features like the Edamam recipe analyzer service.
Unfortunately, all of these benefits come with a price – expenses rolled up for server and technical support, different service and medical consultants fees, and of course the team’s salaries. Since these are monthly costs, the only viable solution was to implement the services in a subscription plan, that offered much more than the simple ad removal license.
Premium is designed to provide as much beneficial functionality as possible. Since both automatic synchronization and PDF/XLS creation are now processed in the cloud, they had to be transferred to the paid service, being otherwise unsustainable. In addition, many users asked for a feature that allows them to monitor a family member, relative or even pets. In answer to this request, we developed fully featured sub-accounts, which can be automatically synchronized and monitored via any web capable or mobile device. The new extended lab records help you log and later analyze every little detail of your condition. The food database was expanded from about 10 000 to over 130 000 items, some in several different languages. Options to save your meals and servings helps greatly reduce the time needed to log and track your daily intake. The amazing Edamam service provides a unique free speech analyzer of numerous recipes. The newest addition to Diabetes:M – Patterns – provides you with an automated problematic events recognition, with suggestions on why they might occur.
Simply put, we need the subscription service in order to be able to maintain the future development and support of Diabetes:M. It was not a lightly taken decision, but as is noted above there is no viable alternative in order to continue forward. As always our first and foremost goal is to help diabetics manage an unruly and difficult condition. To that end, we kept as many of the free features of the app as we could available without any cost. The only exception being the functions that had to be processed by our new servers – namely the new automatic sync, PDF and XLS generation. We have a great many new features planned for the future, both for free and Premium users. In order to deliver them, of course, we need your continued support.
The app is great, and the feautres it offers are extremely helpfull!
However, even tough the premium service sounds fine, the price is a bit high imo. I wouldn’t mind paying $15 to $20 per year, but $50 is too much for me, having in mind that I already pay around $140 per month for the Abbott’s Freestyle Libre sensor (have to use this app because theirs lack export) and a lot of other unforseen expenses that this condition imposes (test strips, special foods, etc.) …
Please keep up the good work (hopefully, someday I’ll be able to afford Premium and see what other patterns it will come up with; the Dawn phenomenon is actually present in every person, regardless diabetic or not, tupe 1 just have issues controlling it).
All the best…
I think the subscription for one year is too much.
adding more and more functions to this nice app, is very interesting and welcome. however, if the result is an app completelyunaffordable, then I suspect that your users base will start moving to some simpler, not so expensive, app.
I paid for the licence thinking that it would be a one off. I use your app all the time but at the moment I’m not sure how much your subscription is and also my preferred currency is £’S, could you enlighten me please?
The base price for Premium is $4.99/month, with discounts for 6 and 12-month subscriptions. Local pricing for each country may vary a little, due to tax differences in different locales. You can see the exact price for your country after you register.
I have been looking for this type of app for some time now and am now very grateful for the hard work and devotion that your team has done. As a premium member, I enjoy having all the data at my fingertips. I love that I can be held accountable by family members having access as well sending reports to doctors and the like. While I agree that $50 is a bit a steep, the app is an invaluable tool. In addition, I enjoy the blog and appreciate your taking the time to explan the cost. Keep up the great work.
Thank you, Michael!
I would love to share this with
My doctor and access the premium app
What would be the monthly cost for these features?
I encourage my doctors to use diabetesM app they seem interested.
I rely on your app to help monitor my glucose and have been using it for 2 years now. I’m on a limited income and can’t afford the $50.00 fee. I wish there were a special rate for seniors who are on a limited income. Hope you can offer any discounts to help older people out, thank you
I agree as I am on a limited income as most seniors are. Many years have passed with no increases from social security or my pension plan. It truly is a fixed income.
I would subscribe in a flash if the cost were lower in the twenty to thirty dollar a year range. I think I could squeeze that out. If it does not lower I will always be a free subscriber and deal with the ads. If that free service is taken away I will move on to a different program that is truly free.
Very useful app. Medical data is very useful for both me and my doctor to understand the personal impact of the condition on me. I can live with the annual fee for such an important tool. Diligent use of the record keeping helped me down to 6.6 A1C from 8.2.
I paid for the app before their was a way to do that, because I thought it was that good. All the features that were in it were what I needed.
I don’t use the food Edaman service and the Dropbox and G drive have both worked flawless.
I understand subscription’s and the need for them. BUT I don’t use anything like those. MAKE it a reasonable amount and you will keep your customers. If not you will loose some.. New people may not care or it may not be a problem for them. Those of us ona fixed-income have to watch how and where our money is spent… Worst case scenario, I will just go back to using a spreadsheet, where I can do most of these thing’s too. Charts, pie charts, graphs, and such I can do.
I hope that you will rethink your subscription service again.
Great app, I would pay a reasanable price because I appreciate your awesome work, but it’s too expensive for me. I stay on free versione 🙁
I am a type 1 diabetic for 21 years and 3 things have greatly improved my life as a diabetic: Tresiba insulin, Freestyle Libre and Diabetes M. The subscription price might be a little high, but it means a healthier life for me and a greater knowledge of myself. I use Diabetes M for years already, have paid for the ad removal license, I am a Premium user since the beginning and will keep as a loyal user. I can’t wait to see the next features! Paying for the subscription is not a problem providing the great things the app adds to my life, but I ask you to, please, not overcharge it in the future 😉
I am using free license but I will subscribe for Premium license. Deise and I, have the same experience and I can confirm all his words.
I would like to say “Thank you !” to all guys from Sirma Medical Systems for great products, web and mobile.
It’s really a good app, but subscription is really expensive.
I’ve been using the app since it’s inception in 2013, and for me there is no better app to have everything in one place for my diabetes management. I bought the one off ad free license, and was happy to do so, however I just cannot justify the subscription based premium version. I generally only use foods I’ve entered myself and vegetables from the public lists. Packaged foods that appeared before premium were foods that I either don’t eat or aren’t available in my country. I think I only ever sent myself pdf reports a few times and I can usually see the patterns in my levels when I look at both my logbook and charts.
$50 US a year equals $63 in my currency (at current conversion rates) and while I understand the need for a subscription based service from the information you have provided, I also think that it shouldn’t need to be as expensive as you have made it.
If there were tiered based options, you might end up with a lot more paying users. I would be happy to pay $2 a month for more detailed charts for example.
Otherwise, keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing what the developers come up with in the future.
I’m a premium user at least for a few months as I imported my older glucose readings from excel into app but 2-3 dollars a month seems more reasonable. But great product.
My hba1c went from 72 to 62 in three months using this app. Another three months, down to 52. And that was constant logging every time I opened my mouth (well, figuratelly speaking), injected insulin and pricked my finger. (I did go from tresiba, which wasn’t really working out for me, back to insulatard during this time, wasn’t sure back then where to put the “blame” but today I think the app has the greatest part in that)
Fast forward another year, I now have an omnipod and an Eversense and my latest hba1c was below 40.
Having been a type 1 for 35+ years (practice makes perfect, eh?), I still credit the food database/calorie tracker and the bolus guide for most of the drop. Granted, the pump and the cgm has a lot to do with the hba1c drop below 40, but I don’t think I’d be there without diabetes: m. Imo, worth every penny.
And I’m honestly looking forward to my next eye exam and lab test. 🙂 Last time was right about when i started using this app.
Being a misanthropic nihilist, I’m not sure how I feel about the app potentially helping add years to my lifespan, I do however greatly appreciate that it might help just a bit in putting off the “blind amputee on dialysis” with a few years…or decades, who knows. And THAT, is worth every penny.
Love the app and have told many people about it. I love how you can customize it. My partner only tests once a day where I test more frequently, but we both can use the app. I even told my nutritionist at my HMO about it and she was excited at all it tracks. Thank you so much for this.
I wish the carb count took into account the fiber, or showed the fiber amount so it could be removed from the carb amount. Bigger meals with a variety of fiber based foods currently adds more carbs to counts which potentially results in more lows.
Very good point! I do hope that change is made as well. Knowing carb count is mute without knowing fiber. But I love this app! I have showed any provider and educator that will take time to listen. Love the color codes so at a glance I have an idea of how my recent numbers trend. Keep it up.
I also agree, fiber would be beneficial. Overall, however, “MyFitnessPal” does a MUCH nicer job of tracking dietetics. The database seems more complete, interface cleaner & smoother, and data more usable.
If this app had the ability to sync nutritional information, which is entered in that app, it would be far more practical to me, than the current setup, AND negate the costs associated with the current system, feasibly resulting in a reduction in the currently ridiculous cost of the subscription.
I use both together for that reason
I originally downloaded your app when I needed a way to print logs for my doctor when my old medtronic USB quit working, but unlike some others my doctor didn’t find it acceptable. After that he ordered a new pump and the Dexcom CGM system, and now I can print these reports as I need them.
Because I do all of my own cooking (due to suffering from cyliac), I have never used that part of your app. I calculate the carbohydrates, as well as proteins etc, myself using another app that also provides calories which is something else I need.
The idea of the premium sounds nice, and the user cost is understandable having worked in IT, (which may not be exactly the same still requires quite a bit of education and expense), is more than I am willing to pay at this time given my personal needs.
Prior to the implementation of the new insulin pump and cgm device I seriously considered going premium, and given I also gave a couple other similar apps a test run at the same time, I must say this one is by far the best, hands down.
In short, or long depending on whether or not you’ve read this far, I’d like to thank everyone involved with the creation of, as well as improvement of this app. And to everyone else who read these posts, there are other apps out there that still do some of the things this one did for free, but they aren’t as well laid out, nor do they have the functionality DiabetesM has, so for the sake of remaining healthy, whole, and fully functional I would go premium.
Thank you for the
Best app out there. I have had doabetes for 34 years now and being able to have all the reecotds etc in one app is fantastic.
I dont mind paying the subscription as having my records at my finger tip for my doctor is great. Keep up the excellant work
Thanks once again
I agree with Mike Melanson. I would like to see fiber as well as other macros. I was originally tracking info in and love the MyFitnesspal app. There was opportunity to customize for several nutrients I wanted to track. They could also be exported in Excel. I could also import recipes from other sites with nutritional info calculated. i never could get FatSecret and DisbetesM to intersct. Even so your site has come a long way and I hope I will see these features here in the future.
I do think $2.99 a month would be a bit more affordable for many with a $30 annual fee. I have to say if I couldn’t afford the $50 I would definitely put this on my Christmas wish list or my birthday list with family. This makes the process easier and keeps me on task. I hate to see the spikes or my numbers creep up if I don’t. This app really helps.
I love this app flaws and all. I have been with Rossen almost 3 years and have witnessed the steady advances. I have looked at numerous alternative apps and Diabetes:M (weird name though) continues to come out on top.
I gladly paid and will continue to pay the subscription fee with the idea that my money will make the app better. A better app will make my diabetes better. The app cost is small compared to my total treatment cost. Yet I get great VALUE from the app compared to what I paid. As long as the app is valuable, I’m all in.
What I’ll be watching for is how suggestions from users of the app are handled. Rossen listened and usually improved the suggestions when enhancing the application. I’m hoping that the Sigma Medical team works closely together and egos or arrogance doesn’t get in the way. The app will be in trouble if an attitude develops on the team of we know what’s important and we better how to do than the user. I hope the team understands the importance of listening!! They can’t do everything for everyone (that will kill the app as well) so striking that balance is critical. Rossen I believe has an inner sense for this.
There is an awesome advantage with having such a very good developer as Rossen being a diabetic. He senses what is important to a diabetic and develops it. It’s so obvious the other apps in this market lack this synergy.
There will be bumps and occasionally setbacks. How the team handles these will be telling. We learn better from our failures. As long as the app remains more important than money and Sirma Medical doesn’t get greedy, it will help all us diabetics.
Wishing you, the best and then I’ll ultimately benefit from the best.
I more than appreciate the effort that has gone into making Diabetes:M a terrific tool for helping diabetics manage this dibilitating disease. I would like to upgrade to Premium for its analytical features and extended lab data capabilities. My problem is that living on a fixed income and struggling to pay for diabetic supplies, medication, doctor’s visits and other expenses like food and rent, there is seldom if ever enough money left over to pay the fee once, much less maintain the expense year after year. I hope Diabetes:M continues successfully. Regrettably, I can not benefit further from its features.
I am a retired 70yo male, and the high costs of insulin R & N make a $50 per annum a difficult added expense.
I started using the app back in 2013 or 14. This year I purchased a license but I won’t renew it next unless the price comes down.
I am a developer and diabetes sufferer as well. Fully understand the needs of your team and appreciate your predicament. It’s an AWESOME application that only makes it easier to manage my condition.
I happily contribute about $4/month for this great application and service. Hard to imagine why folks can’t part with $4/month for this kind of analytics.
Wow! Y’all are wonderful. Thanks for a great product. LOVE IT!!!
I can second the comments of everyone here. My daughter and I use Diabetes:M (that IS a weird name) to track her T1D. She was diagnosed last year at age 15. We tried other apps. None was as good as D:M. Not only was I happy to pay for the ad-removal license to support the developer, I also told my daughter’s team at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia about the app. There was no iOS version at the time, so I’ll have to give them the good news. I, too, was taken aback by the cost of the new subscription model. $4/month doesn’t sound like a lot until you’re on a fixed income and counting every penny. Thank God our situation isn’t quite that dire, and Pennsylvania’s children’s insurance covers what our private insurance doesn’t. I work for AdBlock. We’re experimenting with ways to get more people to pay, so I totally understand why the new features require moving to a more sustainable subscription model. But $2/month or $10/year would put the app within reach of a LOT more people. Maybe the devs can look into getting the app covered by health insurance for those fortunate enough to have any.
Apologies for the length of this post. Keep up the great work!
Too expensive for my fixed income
If it would intergrate with more fitness trackers (Fitbit would be good) I’ll be very happy to continue with the subscription. I feel that if I pay a subscription I want to see development going on. I have type II diabetes and my fitness is very important in controling my Diabetes. Something
this really helps with. I do add my steps/Km in manually to the app but it is a bit of a pain. I also find the amount of sleep I get has a big impact on my control. Something I’d really like to log in Diabetes:M in a formal way.
Otherwise I do love this app and my doctor does too.
One thing that might be really useful for US-based subscribers is eligibility to play with a FSA (Flexible Spending Account – pre-tax dollars reserved for medical or other expenses. I max mine out every year.
Likewise, it would be nice if insurers would cover it as an eligible expense, or if you could get some form of sponsorship/co-branding from a drug maker. Anything to create a second stream of funding rather than asking your user base to pay full freight.
I like the design of this app very much, I am a premium subscriber ….mostly because I use several different devices to input my data. And I like the PDF reports. It’s like having pump software without having a pump. I am retired and the cost is too high so I no longer recommend this app to others without explaining that it really should be less expensive, I don’t mind paying for quality, but I do mind Over-paying.
A well thought out App and the one I have chosen to record my finger-prick readings.
I have no need for the features in premium. Indeed the free version has way more than I want. I just want to log my tests, graph them and get an Hb1ac estimation from time to time. The nutrition stuff is not worth anything to me, neither are any of the server based facilities.
Perhaps you also need another tier of membership. I would pay to remove the ads. I don’t want the rest of the facilities in premium, so I would never pay that much to get rid of those tiresome banners. There must be others like me whom you are missing valuable income from.
Perhaps the software has evolved too far and you have overdeveloped it for some of us. Maybe a ‘Lite’ version would work for you too – and me.
How about Premium Lite? I had no issues with one time pay, and appreciate some of the improvements made.
As you jump to a massive data engine, offer clinician value-add, and are ready to LEAP into the AI offerings, you are leaving behind the simple base, like you were once. Sell the data and/analytics to the insurance companies, manufacturers, Pharmaceuticals and Clinic operators so they can tour improved outcomes, get better reimbursement or offer reduced rates for disease where managed.
I love this app and have used it for many years now. I would really like to be able to support your work.
I do not need the Premium level of service, but I would like the ability to just remove the ads – maybe it’s possible to have the free version, a one-time pay ad-free version and then the Premium subscription service?
Even just a donate option would be nice so we can support this terrific app.
My son was diagnosed just over a week ago with type 1 diabetes. He just turned 15. Would the Family offering allow me to buy the premium version of the app and use it on his phone to allow us both to monitor his progress?
Hi Tom. You can monitor his condition online via the Analytics web panel. The premium subscription unlocks the additional features and lets you track another person if you need to.
I like the app and am a Premium user it has totally revolutionised the way I handle my diabetes .. Type one badly controlled for 18 years now fully under my control with a HbA1c of 47 inside 4 months, where as before I was up in the high 88 – 90s for 18years .. As a premium user I would like to know if you intend to put a UK food -based Data bank as USA values vary greatly from British ones.
I will consider a subscription as soon as reading Freestyle Libre sensors is reliably integrated into the app. None of the suggested solutions work with my phone, so they’re useless for me.
At some point it may have been more clear, but I have been trying to find how I can give access to my relatives to monitor my condition without giving them //my// password. I cannot seem to find any links to register a relative, any place to create the above-mentioned “sub-accounts”, or any instructions on setting my relative up to access my numbers. I even created an account for them in Analytics, thinking I could link it or something, to no avail. Developers, can you send me an email at the address provided in this web form indicating how I might go about adding a relative to monitor my data?
As a newly diagnosed T1D, and a Freestyle Libre user, I have found this app very useful. I have family members that are concerned about my well being and like to keep up with my glucose readings. I considered switching from the Libre to a Dexcom for this reason. I was more than happy to pay $50 a year compared to the approximate $6,000 per year for the Dexcom to be able to keep my family seamlessly updated. Thank you for this app.
Hej ! Er app i androidversionen kraschar ofta. Vid varje krasch riskerar man att parkopplingen i bluetooth slutar att fungera. felmeddelande om bristande kontakt med server år frekvent förekommande. Känns inte pålitligt.
What a bunch of cheap people. $50 is a reasonable price considering the benefits of the subscription. How much is your life worth? Apparently not $50 more. I am considering this app but I want one that import nutrition data. I’m also not sure if it will work with my meters.
It should for $49.99 per year. Healthcare is ridiculously expensive. It does not mean someone is cheap because they are trying to make ends meet. If I were a fund trader you could call me cheap. I am not. I coughed up $49.99, but it will hurt this month. Does that make me cheap? I am expecting some dynamite upgrades for my money. It appears that although the lights are on, no one is home.
Please integrate with myfitnesspal….
The app is really good, but for a person which have a lots of expenses with diabetes products, is too expansive. If you don’t review the annual price, I will leave and will use the Roche app.
Como se llamo esto i am from SPAIN