Muddling your way through the varying array of medical devices and companies may just feel a bit overwhelming- of course. I hope this easy to follow list will help simplify your searching and decision making. Diabetes products are always changing and evolving in new and cool ways. Be sure to look into all of your options before making a purchase. The products offered are different and unique in their own way.
Before you purchase a medical device always inquire about their return policies. If you are lucky enough to have insurance coverage on these gadgets, they have limitations as to how often you can get a new one (every 5-7 years). Many companies have a time length such as 40 days in which you can return their product and get another that works better for your family.
OmniPod by Insulet: This is the only tubeless insulin pump/ glucometer combination on the market; they compare themselves to other pumps with this nice chart. The pump is waterproof and recyclable which is a huge plus. The Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) is fancy and functions as the pumps brain and glucometer. The PDM is programmed with a food library for carbohydrate counting, has suggested insulin amounts, is self-inserting and appealing to those who don’t like the tubing other pumps have. OmniPod has a smaller and sleeker pump that hit the market recently with hopes of an integrated Continuous Glucose Sensor (CGM) to be a part of it.
Medtronic: Medtronic pumps all have tubing, and the 530 G is their newest pump. This pump incorporates their new Enlite CGM sensor and has a shut-off mechanism with hypoglycemia. Medtronic has a solid pump and great customer service. The pump is easy to use and offers a variety of injection sites for the customer to choose from.
Their newest “Mio” has been a big hit for comfort and ease of insertion. The bolus wizard is easy to set up which makes bolus suggestions and corrections after the individuals information is entered into the system. Their glucometer functions wirelessly, transmitting blood glucose levels into the pump. The insulin pumps compatibility with their CGM technology is noteworthy. Medtronic is working on a tubeless system as well.
Animas: Animas Ping comes with a glucometer that also has the remote capabilities of bolusing without having to dig your pump out (a patient and parent favorite). The Animas Ping is waterproof and has a CalorieKing food database making carb counting easier. Many Animas patients use a Dexcom for continuous glucose monitoring. Animas has options for injection sites adaptable for the individual in mind. They are looking forward to integrated CGM technology in their next pump rollout.
Tandem Diabetes Care: Their T-Slim pump closely resembles an iPhone with touch screen technology. This pump is sleek and has the only rechargeable battery of all of the pumps on the market. It’s data progrmas are Mac and PC-compatable.
*With full disclosure in mind- I have only worn the OmniPod and Medtronic pumps/ CGM. Dealing with all of the pumps as a nurse, as a patient with type 1 diabetes and a mom of a child with type 1 diabetes I definitely have my opinions…
Continuous Glucose Monitor’s (CGM’s)
Dexcom: Dex is a wireless continuous glucose monitoring system made of a sensor, transmitter and receiver. Dexcom’s newest product is G4 Platinum. It is 2.4 ounces and works within a 20 foot radius. The Dexcom SEVEN PLUS is the second newest version available. Glucose readings are available every five minutes and the sensor may be worn for 7 days. At present this system is not compatible with any pump. Their technology is similar but different than Medtronic’s.
The insertion device, materials, and accuracy of the Dex are unique with their technology. Most patients are quite happy with the overall performance of the Dex. My experience has found the Dex to be more accurate and comfortable than its competition. I really don’t mind the extra hand sized device as it is so incredibly accurate. Dexcom is aiming to have their product integrated into insulin pumps in the near future. I am very impressed with this company and feel that this has changed the way I live with and parent to diabetes in a very positive way.
Medtronic: The newest CGM is the Enlite Sensor; it boasts 93% detection of hypoglycemia, a 31% improvement in accuracy and 6 day sensor use. This CGM is compatible with Medtronic’s insulin pump system. The sensor glucose number is present on the face of the insulin pump which is super nice. I like this ‘one device’ system because it’s an integrated model. It is cumbersome to travel with a pump, glucometer and a CGM. Medtronic also has a product called “mySentry”; it enables remote monitoring of blood sugars from another room. Night time safety is a huge plus with this product as it can be kept by the parents bedside for alerts.
See She Sugars review of the Medtronic and Dexcom CGM in the following articles:
See She Sugars article on the rollout of the mySentry product by Medtronic:
Here is the American Diabetes Association’s Annual Consumer Guide to everything Diabetes 2014.
See what they have to say about the amazing variety of tools out there.