People with diabetes traditionally endure two types of uncomfortable events on a daily basis: finger sticks for blood samples to test glucose levels and insulin shots with conventional syringes. The holy grail for wearable tech is an artificial pancreas, or closed loop system. An artificial pancreas continuously monitors blood glucose and administers insulin as needed. It’s still early days for complete automated systems. The Medtronic iPro2 closed loop system received FDA approval last Fall, but it could be years before such technology is in common use. For many, the step up to continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) such as Echo Therapeutics’ Symphony is beneficial, eliminating annoying multiple daily finger sticks. The other major technology, the insulin pump, traditionally delivers measured insulin payloads via tubes inserted under the skin.
Insulet‘s Omnipod insulin management system differs from some conventional insulin pumps because it has no visible tubes. Instead, the Omnipod uses a thin cannula inserted when the pod is attached to the skin. The Omnipod system consists of a pod and a handheld Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM). The small, lightweight, waterproof, patch-like pod attaches to the skin with a strong adhesive. The pod holds 200 units of insulin, good for up to three days’ supply. The actual amount of insulin delivered by the pod is controlled by the PDM, connected wirelessly to the pod.
The PDM has an integrated Abbott Diabetes Care FreeStyle blood glucose meter with a test strip port light for people who use finger sticks and test strips. According to Insulet, you can use Omnipad with any available CGM, preferably one with a low mean absolute relative difference (MARD) measurement, below 10 percent (lower is better). Software on the PDM can be configured for dosage adjustments in up to 24 time intervals in the day to deliver the correct amount of insulin. Configuring the PDM is a task for the user and a healthcare provider, based on the basal rates. Up to seven basal programs can be stored in the PDM for different daily schedules, plus users can always increase or pause the dosage as needed.
Preference, convenience, confidence, and cost all factor in the health tech choices for people with diabetes. Whatever the technology used, it still requires understanding and monitoring by patients, caregivers, and health care providers. The OmniPod is a wireless, tubeless, short interval continuous insulin delivery system that offers an additional choice.