Thursday, November 7, 2013

Choosing An Insulin Pump.

It's that magical time of every-four-years-or-so where we insulin pump folks are allowed to select which small hunk of plastic, metal and science will help us manage our diabetes for the next few years. My Animas warranty runs out at the end of December, which means that our insurance plan is probably, possibly willing to cover some yet-to-be-learned percentage of the cost of a new insulin pump (assuming the paperwork gets processed before the end of the year).

The freedom! The choices! The intense pressure to choose wisely!

I've been pretty happy with my Animas Ping over the past few years. (I mean, I drew it into my blog header - I must be fond of it, right?) I've had very few technical issues with it, Animas' customer service has always been a pleasure to work with, the pump is waterproof, and frankly, I'm just used to it. It's familiar and comfortable. And who knows, maybe the Vibe will be granted the a-okay from FDA soon, and I'd be able to upgrade for (what I hope would be) a small fee. The Ping feels... safe.

But what about new hotness?

There's Medtronic's low glucose suspend pump and CGM combo, the 530g with Enlite. There's Omnipod (I've never worn one!), and there's that snazzy touchscreen (ooooh, shiny) pump from Tandem, the t:slim.There's also Accu-check's Combo pump and Asante's Snap. (Aw, snap!)

Six choices! SIX!

How will I decide? Which features are most important, this go-round? (I think all of these pumps are "good", and which one you choose really just depends on what features are important to you and fit the way you live/play. I don't think there's a "bad pump", just maybe a bad fit for an individual.) I think I can eliminate the Omnipod, because I appreciate tubed pumps (as I can move it around to accomadate different outfits during the time that infusion set is in).

Okay, how about Medtronic? The LGS pump could be nice during nighttime low excursions. But... it's not integrated with the Dexcom CGM I love so much, so getting the full benefit out of that system would require me to abandon my Dexcom.

Ah, now the t:slim! I trialed this pump for a couple of days during FFL 2012, and I liked what I could test of it. Touchscreen = cool. Bigger reservoir = cool. More intuitive functionality = cool. But it's a whole new company and device, and it feels like it would be a pretty big transition for me. Am I ready for that?

Then there's the Asante Snap. I don't know much about it, or the company that makes it, but I know that Scott liked it, and I totally trust him, so maybe that's good enough for me. Besides, it looks super easy (a snap, ha ha haaaaaaa) to use.

And the Combo pump from Accu-chek: again, haven't seen it in person, but I know someone that's worn it and liked it. I'm just not sure it's for me.

Which circles me back to Animas. While the features of my pump wouldn't change, I'd at least be able to order a different color.... but I'd be sticking with the same technology I've had for the past four years.

I've got some things to ponder.

Update: I tried to sign up for the Snap's four-week trial, and was told (by way of automated reply) that this pump is not yet available in my area.

Update to the update: Even though our insurance plan tells me that they will cover any pump except Tandem's and Asante's, there may be ways to work through this. I'll update when I know something!

Update, v3.0: You can find the rest of this story here, here, and here.


  1. I was in this situation a few months ago and ended up going with the Ping because of the Dexcom. I'd give up my pump before I gave up my Dex, oh how I love it so.

    Here's hoping the Vibe gets approved before my 4 years are up!

    Good luck with your decision!

  2. When I was talking to one of my friends before she ordered a new pump, I suggested she make sure she reads blog posts about people's negative experiences with new pumps. I think knowing what people have not liked is the best way to make an informed decision.

  3. My warranty ran out in July so naturally my pump broke this past weekend and I now have no choice but to upgrade. But i'm sticking with Minimed, it's what I know and love and I'm really excited about the new Enlite sensor. I tried the DexCom but I don't like that its another thing to shove in a pocket.

    Good luck deciding! Picking a color can be hard enough! :)

  4. I like the wireless on the Accu check but I've never seen it before... (and a slightly bigger reservoir could be good).

    But Medtronic has really been good to me. I break out in hives with Omnipod and Dexcom!!

  5. Yesterday we had our initial pump info class, endo appointment and started paperwork for the new Minimed for my son who is still on injections. So, I expect in a couple months, we'll start the pump and add the cgm feature a bit later. My son knew he didn't want the Omnipod and then our insurance seemed to work best with Medtronic, especially as it's coordinated with the Bayer meter/strips.

    Our class didn't show us the t:slim; bet my son would have been dazzled by that touch screen.

    Have fun kicking reservoirs! (get it?)

  6. I just had to make the same decision and went from the minimed that I had worn for 14 years to the animas. Switched because of the remote bolus feature and waterproofness. I like the features, but man, there is something to be said about loving what you're used to and what you know. Here's hoping I'll eventually get that close to my animas and stop missing my minimed so bad! Never thought I'd be so emotional about a pump, haha.

  7. HAHHAAH I am not a pumper, but that was extremely amusing. Your comments plus the videos made for a fun read. I think I'll go through it again just for entertainment.

  8. p.s. Maybe you could take advantage of some of the free trials some pump companies offer where you can try it out for a month with no strings attached? I know Asante does that..if you have a rep in your area.

  9. I went through the same thing this year and decided to stick with the Ping. I have the exact same feeling as you do about the Omnipod. My pump is all over this body (sounds much more exciting than it is) but I do like being able to move it around. I agonized over the decision but liked that the partnership between Dexcom and Animas has already produced a product (sadly not available here.... yet). From a purely financial point of view, I appreciate that Animas is a Johnson & Johnson company (Strong financial backing and a publicly traded company did carry weight in my decision to re-up with Animas). There were definitely features I liked on other pumps but when I met with Renza this summer, and got to see her Vibe, I realized I am truly comfortable with the decision I made.... now I just have to be patient (or move to Australia). Good luck! xo

  10. Just as maybe a nugget to consider - Tandem has a nice shiny pump, but the current version doesn't have "reverse-correction" if you're below your target but above 70 mg/dL, and also it hides about 40-50u per cartridge (they say 20, but I've been able to draw about about 40 at each changeout)... so technically you would be throwing that in the garbage right along with whatever is in the tubing. I'm big on conserving insulin, so until they get it changed and I don't get the "OMG-that-could-have-saved-a-child-today" feeling, my t:slim is shelved. They do, however, have a great customer service and management team.
    Animas has a good company, a good pump, and good customer service. They are, in my opinion, a safe choice (not that my opinion matters... YOU will be the one wearing it. ;) )

  11. I am going through this decision literally right now. I've had an oldie but goodie Medtronic for the past 7 years. Not even the Revel. When I could upgrade or get a new one, I never did. Now I have reached my out of pocket maximum and luckily (well sad that I reached the out of pocket max) I won't have to pay a dime. Until I order more supplies in the new year...
    Omnipod was out right away. Didn't want to carry another thing in my pocket and I didn't care for the bump it always produced. (granted I know I have to clip something to myself that creates a bump itself)
    Medtronic is comfortable but their CGM, even the new Enlite is AWFUL on me. I'd say 10% accurate when it decides to take a reading. So the who turn off feature really didn't work out that well on me when I did a trial with it. And I LOVE my Roxy (Dexcom)
    I tried ordering the Snap to test but it's not available in my area either. What area is it available in? And what mythical place does Scott live that allows him to get one!?
    So I really think Animas is going to be the winner. They also told me that it's only a $99 upgrade for new technology so hopefully the Vibe comes sooner than later! Plus after watching (reading) you and Kerri be on the Ping I feel that it has a pretty darn good track record.

    PS I'm happy to see you posting so much after Rabbit's arrival! Always a joy to read!

  12. I've worn the OmniPod for 3 1/2 yrs now and love it. The no tubing is a huge benefit, and it is also waterproof. I also like that it is easy to wear with dresses because you can stick it just about anywhere, and it is so little it is easy to hide. I know up you can get a free trial pod to wear thru OmniPod's website. Whenever there are technology updates, they will mail you the new pump at no cost. I know that all pumps have good benefits and I'm sure you will be happy with whatever one you decide on!

  13. It can be a tough choice. A few months ago, I was ready to quit on Medtronic altogether. Now I'm itching to order the 530G. Sometime over the past week, I remembered how my wife told me she worries when I'm home alone with the kids, and suddenly the Low-Glucose-Suspend, which I honestly didn't care about (I haven't had a hospital-grade low since I started pumping in 2006), took on a different meaning.

  14. Sorta related: I recently switched insurances and when I was reading through our benefits plan, it said in black and white "Benefits for insulin pumps are limited to one pump per year." I seriously read it about 10 times, then had my husband read it himself and out loud, slowly. I couldn't believe it, I can't even upgrade my cellphone every year! (On the other hand I'm only "allowed" a new meter, through insurance, every 5 years!?).
    Anyway, if you have questions about the t:slim I've blogged about it or I'm happy to answer specific questions. (I've had it just over a year now).
    In the end all that matters is that you find a pump that works for you.

  15. Great post, Kim, and great questions, points, counter-points, and gifs. :-)

    I'm actually still wearing my well-out-of-warranty Cozmo that I love so much. For the record, there is no pump that exists today that I will love as much as I love (LOVE (LURVE)) the Cozmo.

    I really like the Snap, but my insurance company isn't cooperating, so I'm going to continue to wear my Cozmo until I'm forced to do something different (by failure, lack of supplies, or insurance cooperating with my desire to snap up a Snap).

    I participated in a focus group sort of thing back in the spring which is how I was able to try it for a while. They talked about doing a phased roll-out, which will take some time. East Coast first, if I remember correctly.

  16. I'm getting my first pump in January! I'm thinking the TSlim

  17. I'm on the medtronic pump ( no cgm) and so far I haven't had any problems with it. good customer service and its very easy to use!

  18. I'm in the UK - I have a vibe and really love it - I had no idea it wasn't FDA approved, but that explains why none of the American blogging diabetics have one! slightly bizarre that we get it here but not available in US yet :/

  19. I never really got a choice on which pump I wanted since I started using it at such a young age, my mom chose for me. I've been using a Medtronic pump for about six years now and I don't think I'd feel comfortable changing. I would be afraid of it changing how I care for my diabetes. I have no idea if changing the brand of your pump would actually effect someone's blood sugars, but it is something I'd take into consideration before switching.


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