OmniPod Tubeless Insulin Pump

OmniPod Tubeless Insulin Pump First Thoughts

I received the OmniPod tubeless insulin pump system today, and these are my first thoughts. You can find information on the pump at this link. I will follow-up with more information in a later post.

OmniPod Tubeless Insulin Pump System

The OmniPod Tubeless Insulin Pump System is an insulin pump that delivers insulin to diabetics. Unlike other pumps, the OmniPod holds and delivers insulin with no tubes to connect to the body. As a result, it does not tangle in clothing, on body parts, or catch on door knobs. Instead, the system has a Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) that wirelessly programs the Pod. It controls personalized insulin delivery, calculates suggested doses and insulin on board, and has a built-in blood glucose meter.OmniPod System

Unboxing the OmniPod

The OmniPod system comes in a small box that has everything needed. It has the PDM, Pods, a PDM case, glucose test strips, and a carrying case for the system. In addition, it comes with a blood glucose meter. The glucose meter seems out-of-place, since the PDM has one built-in. The starter kit has the PDM, an excellent user manual, and a nice carrying case for your supplies. It also has a mini USB cable for the PDM. The carrying case even has a setup card that tells you where everything goes, including your insulin and spare batteries.

Nicely done on the packaging.

Gel Case

The Gel Case is poorly designed, in my opinion. There is a hole for the glucose test strip, but not for the Micro USB cable connector. This means you have to remove the case to sync results to the Glooko.com application. OmniPod uses Glooko.com for uploading data from the PDM, such as your basal and bolus settings.

I might even call this a poor PDM design, and not a poor case design. Be it as it may, the case should have a hole in it for the Micro USB. But I wish I could connect the PDM via Bluetooth to my computer, to upload the data. That would also let me upload via my smart phone.

Training

I really cannot comment on the training. I will say that the documentation is excellent, and OmniPod has a lot of online resources. The trainer literally contacted me a few minutes after the OmniPod tubeless insulin pump system delivered. She did ask I not put it on until she trained me, to which I argued. After all, I have 26 years of pumping under my belt.

She has tried to keep me in links to documentation, but I have read it from their site already. Insulet Corporation has great online training, if you look a bit. We are meeting for the 2 hour training day after tomorrow, but setup of the OmniPod was simple. As a result, I am wearing it already.

Setup Wizard

The Setup Wizard starts when you put the batteries into the PDM. It leads you through the information needed to get it up and running. Any experienced pumper will have no problem with it. If you are not experienced with pumps, do not try to start it without training.

Insulet gave thought to the user interface of the OmniPod. For instance, when you are entering the time, they display “Morning,” “Afternoon,” and “Night” on the screen. That means there is no mistaking 6:00AM from 6:00PM.

The interface is 1980’s though. For instance, the setup of the ID screen. They ask you to pick a screen color, but do not change the display color for you to see. You have to wait until you turn on the screen to see it to decide if you like it. They also suggest you use your phone number as your ID. This is if you lose the PDM, someone can return it to you. However, you must press and hold the “Select” button to enable the display to see the ID screen. This is not clear if you do not use the PDM. This means you are not likely to get it back, in my opinion.

Entering custom text is difficult. You use the arrow keys to scroll through the alphabet and numbers. It sequences from A to a, then B to b, etc., through the numbers. Not convenient, but at least you can enter customer labels. Setup is not done often, so it is not a big issue.

Overall, the menus are easy to navigate and are easy to understand.

Basal Setup

The ease of setting up the basal rates surprised me. It took a few minutes to figure it out, but it worked well. Adding other entries was easy, as was deleting entries. It was easier than some competitors, and more difficult than others. Still, I prefer the keypad entry model I have mentioned before. However, it was easier than I expected considering the antiquated menus.

Starting the Pod

Pod Pump InternalsStarting the Pod was easy. The PDM walks you through it step-by-step. It really comes down to fill the Pod with insulin, stick it on yourself, and start it. The PDM and Pod do everything for you after that. It is very automatic, and pretty foolproof. You do feel the needle going in, like any other pump. You just do not see it and do not have to manually insert it.

One thing to note is that the Pod is actually the pump of the OmniPod system, not the PDM. You enter the basal rates into the PDM, and when you start the Pod they are sent to the Pod. They live there until a new Pod is started. You do not need to carry the PDM with you.

My Wish List

Ok. Here is my wish list to make this a very nice insulin pump going forward:

  • Add Bluetooth to the PDM. This would allow syncing results to a computer or smart phone without having to use a data cable. It would also open the possibility to control the Pod with a smart phone, or simply change settings with a smart phone. Since you do not need to carry the PDM with you anyway, and everyone carries their phone all the time…
  • Add a scroll button to the PDM. Control the menus with a button more like the Dexcom G5 uses. That is much nicer to navigate and select with.
  • Did I mention an Android and iOS app?
  • Integrate it with the Dexcom G5 (and in the future, the Dexcom G6)

Summary

In summary, I really like the OmniPod.

Do not get me wrong – I have used it for a whole 4.5 hours. I only use it for basal insulin, and I have no intention of using it for bolus, meal tracking, or for tracking my blood glucose readings. I use Afrezza for my bolus, and my Dexcom for my blood glucose. I have no intention to change that. But that is what makes the OmniPod perfect for my basal insulin needs, the OmniPod seems like the perfect thing so far.

After I use it for a while, I will do a followup blog. But in the meantime…

I really like it so far. Just do not tell the trainer until she trains me…