On Sunday, I went to a meeting of our local support group for families living with diabetes. The Medtronics Representatives were there to tell us about the features of their newest insulin pump...the REVEL. They also told us about some things that Medtronics has "coming down the pipeline". All of these things are either ready to go or very close....but how long til we actually have them in our hands? Well, that all depends on FDA approval....and it sounds like they are not moving quickly enough for Medtronics - or the other medical device companies! (Now that is frustrating!) Did you know that every time they make even one tiny tiny change on say a remote for an insulin pump...the whole thing has to go through FDA approval all over again?
Anyway, I wanted to share with you some of the exciting things that I heard about....
- One of the complaints of MiniMed insulin pump & CGM users is that the alarms are not loud enough. For us parents, this is especially concerning at nighttime. One of the reasons that we love Ally's CGM is because we hope that it will help us ward of the overnight lows (with the predictive alarms on the Revel, awesome feature!). However, if she is wearing her pump under her clothes and has a blanket on her or is lying on her stomach, we don't hear the alarm. We have a baby monitor right next to her bed and still don't hear it. SO..Medtronics is working on making the alarm louder, or at least having the option to make it louder. Also...now this is SOOOO COOOOL!!!!...they have something like an alarm clock (I did not see this, so I am just describing the best that I can in the way that I visualized it, so please don't hold me to this exactly!). The parents can put this on their nightstand and it shows on the screen your child's CGM activity. It also will alarm for lows or highs, whatever you set it to do. How Cool is THAT? Only problem...it's not available yet! Come on, hurry up with that one!!!
- Another area that Medtronics has been working to improve is the compatibility of their CareLink software, which we use to download Ally's pump and CGM information. They have recently upgraded their software and CareLink Personal now supports the latest 64 bit systems from Microsoft including Windows 7 and Windows Vista operating systems. Their BIG push right now is for MAC compatability.
- Medtronics has been working on a new CGM sensor for a while now...so come on, Mr. FDA, please approve this one pronto!! It will be much smaller and more comfortable - yay!!! Also, it will have a straight in insertion, which will come in an "all-inclusive" device, something similar to the Quick-set or mio insertion device.
- Sounded like this one was further down the pipeline, but up and coming, no doubt! A better REMOTE!!! One of the reasons that many people love their Animas pump is that it has the awesome remote feature. Medtronics has one, but it is not connected with the bolus wizard feature at all. So, you can bolus from the remote, but you have to manually do all of the calculations first, and decide how many units you want it to bolus. Heck, I could have pulled out her pump 10x before I figured that out, so we don't even bother with one! There was a young woman at the meeting, who spoke up and stressed that this is really something that as a woman she REALLY wants. She often wears dresses to work and finds it really difficult to pull her pump out to bolus. Since Ally does not wear a dress unless I make her, we don't have that problem very often yet. But I see what this lady was talking about.
- Medtronics also has been working on the technology for communication between the insulin pump and your iphone or blackberry. How great would it be for a parent to look at their iphone and see what their child's CGM is doing while the child is at school?