Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Microwaves and Static Electricity

Lizzy731 started a thread on Children with Diabetes (click here for the thread) where she shares her experience that the PDM lost the communication link to the OmniPod. She was administering a bolus while standing very close to a microwave oven in use. She called customer service and they helped isolate the microwave as the most possible cause. After changing the pod, everything was OK.

Another user shared an experience that static electricity can also be a potential cause of failure. They shared the experience that their child was sliding with the pod located on the child's backside when it stopped working. Lots of static electricity on slides!

Friday, November 23, 2007

FAQs-How much does the OmniPod cost?

The answer is located on the official OmniPod FAQ website.

FAQs-Is the OmniPod available in my area?

Go to this link on the OmniPod website to find out if the OmniPod is available in your area.

FAQs-Can I download data from the OmniPod?

The PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager) has an IR (infrared port) that can be used to download data. Comments in other forums report that the software can be obtained by contacting Insulet directly.


As I browse the diabetes blogs and forums and read the comments, there seems to be a lot of people asking the same questions about the OmniPod. Many of the answers to the questions can be found in the FAQs on the official OmniPod website. If you don't see the answer to your question there, just post a comment here or at the OmniPod group on tudiabetes.com.

As new questions are asked, look for the answer on this site. Just click on the FAQs label/tag to find the answers.

Or checkout the FAQs written by another OmniPod user on DiabetesMine.com.

8 Month's Later

The blogger behind DiabetesMine.com just posted a summary of her first eight month's of OmniPod use. What does she think?
Well it's about 8 months, maybe almost 9, since I started pumping insulin using the tubeless Omnipod system. Many of you have sent queries wondering whether I'm still on it, and still happy? The answers are: yes and yes.

We all know there are no miracle cures. But I can honestly say that 1) pumping has changed my life, and 2) there's no way I would be here right now, enjoying pumping, if it weren't for the no-strings-on-me option (currently only offered by Insulet).
Read the entire blog here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Insulet Reports 3rd Quarter Results

Click here for the press release.

Highlights include...
+ 3200 Omnipod users (up 750 (or 31%) from last quarter and up by 1200 from the end of 2006)
+ Reported revenue of $3.8M, over 3x higher than the same quarter last year
+ Operating expenses grew to $10.8M driven by significant increases in G&A and Sales and Marketing
+ Insulet has production capacity of 45,000 omnipods/month (~4,500 users) with plans to increase capacity to 200,000 per month (~20,000 users) by the end of 2008 after just updating their agreement with Flextronics (a contract manufacturer)
+ Insulet sales force is in 35 states
+ Insulet has signed contracts with insurance companies that cover 137 million people
+ Insulet increased its guidance for 2007 revenue from $10-12 million to $13 million

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Omnipod User Group on tudiabetes.com

I just started a new group at tudiabetes.com for Omnipod users to allow each of us to discuss and share our experiences of using the Omnipod.

Freescale Microcontrollers Control the Omnipod

Freescale Semiconductor has posted a customer case study on their website that provides a little insight into what makes the Omnipod and the PDM work.
The OmniPod is a small, lightweight, self-adhesive pod that delivers insulin, according to a person's pre-programmed personal basal rates and bolus dosages. The Pod also features automated cannula insertion for reduced insertion errors and increased consistency and comfort. Since the patient is automatically injected once the Pod is adhered to the skin, the anxiety and pain that often come with the traditional daily insulin injections or a conventional insulin pump are no longer a factor. Additionally, the Pod is small, about the size of a walnut, and can be worn under clothing where conventional pumps have tubing attached to a pager-like device that is not easy to conceal. The user changes the Pod about every three days.

The PDM, the wireless, intuitive, hand-held device that programs the OmniPod with customized insulin delivery instructions and monitors the OmniPod's operation, contains a fully integrated blood glucose meter, and automatically stores patient records.

To meet the price and performance requirements of this system, Insulet looked to Freescale Semiconductor to develop a combination of standard microcontrollers (MCUs) with custom RF silicon. "No one else could match both the RF technology at the required price points," said Luis Malavé, senior vice president of research, development and engineering at Insulet. "Additionally, Freescale is one of the few companies that had the technology to make these devices into a single package solution."

The OmniPod uses the MC9S08RX32A which has two die inside a single package—a custom RF integrated circuit and a standard MC9S08GB60A 8-bit MCU. The PDM uses the Freescale Dragonball microprocessor, the brains of the wireless device, as well as the same MC9S08RX32A, enabling a true wireless connection.

The MCUs manage the flow of insulin and the MCU and RF IC interface with the handheld controller (the PDM) to relay information, manage and monitor the flow of insulin. Additionally, the devices offer safety features built into the software.

A microcontroller (MCU) is similar to a microprocessor found inside your computers from Intel and AMD. Microcontrollers are much less expensive and have everything needed to function (program storage.. like the hard drive, RAM, communication circuits (like USB, serial ports, ethernet) combined on one tiny chip.

The PDM uses 2 microcontrollers: a 32-bit microcontroller to control the unit and an 8-bit microcontroller with a separate RF (Radio Frequency) chip that communicates wirelessly with the pod. Each pod has the same 8-bit microcontroller combined with a RF chip to control the pump, the needle to insert the cannula, the speaker to alarm the user, and to communicate with the PDM.

If you are using the Omnipod, you are walking around with three powerful computers. Each of them are over a million times more powerful than the very first computer introduced around 1940 that filled an entire room.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Changing My First Pod

This afternoon, I heard a beeping sound. It took me a little while to find that the sound was coming from the pod installed on my stomach. I didn't realize the pod also contained a speaker. Cool!  I turned on the PDM, which also started beeping at me, and learned that the alarm was warning me that the pod would need to be replaced in a few hours.

That evening, the pod beeped at me again telling me three days was up and it was time to install a new pod. I slowly started peeling the adhesive tape away from my skin. There was some pain as I peeled it away. A small price to pay for only having to give myself one shot every three days. (Note to Self: Keep the pod away from places with lots of hair). I was surprised to see that the cannula was 9mm long.

To install a new pod, I just followed the instructions on the PDM. With an alcohol prep pad, I cleaned a new site on the other side of my stomach. I then filled the pod with 200 units of insulin, pushed next on the PDM to prime the pod, removed the adhesive backing on the pod, placed the pod on my stomach, pushed next again on the PDM to activate the pod, waited a few seconds, and "pop!" the cannula was inserted and pumping insulin again.

See how it works on Omnipod's website.

Again, Youtube user cyclicpitcher has more guts than me in showing the world his abdomen. Check out his video on removing the pod.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The First Few Days

This is so exciting! I haven't given myself a shot for 2 days. If my blood sugar is high, it is so incredibly easy to give myself a correction bolus to quickly get it back down. My morning blood sugar level has been consistently at 100. I haven't seen that for a long time.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Training with Omnipod's CDE

Omnipod's CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) came this morning to train me on using the Omnipod.  We spent just over an hour ensuring the PDM was setup correctly, teaching me about how/why each setting is used, and operating the PDM and pods.  Together we filled a pod with insulin, primed the pod, prepared the site on my stomach, applied the pod to the site, and then activated the pod.  A few seconds later, I heard a click and felt the needle place the soft cannula (tube) into my skin.  The experience felt the same as lancing my finger tip for blood sugar testing or like most of the insulin injections I give myself.  I say most because sometimes my insulin injections really sting!  Woohoo!!  No more shots 4+ times each day!!  Life is good.

Youtube user cyclicpitcher has more courage than I do showing how the Omnipod is installed on his stomach. I will let him show you how to setup and install a pod.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Unpacking the Shipping Box

A few days ago, an Insulet representative contacted me and informed me that my insurance had approved my OmniPod. I received a box in the mail a few days later. I opened the box with excitement. Inside the box was the Omnipod Insulin Management system packed inside a large leather case. The leather case contained the PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager), 2 pods, a user manual, a quick start guide, and a CD with an interactive training program for the computer. Three boxes of pods (each containing a month supply of pods) an Abbott Freestyle blood glucose meter and a custom case for the PDM were also packaged inside the shipping box.

Leather Case

Inside the Leather Case

Box containing the PDM (Personal Diabetes Manager)

The PDM and 2 pods

One month supply of pods

I spent the evening watching the tutorials on the CD, reading the manual, and setting up the PDM with the settings I would use.  My appointment with Omnipod's CDE was scheduled for a day and half later.  It seemed easy enough that I considered started using it right then.  My common sense prevailed and I decided to wait.

YouTube user cyclicpitcher posted this video documenting his experience unpacking his Omnipod.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

2,450 of us

As of June 2007, Insulet reported that there were 2,450 people using the OmniPod. I started using the OmniPod a week ago. I can't believe how the OmniPod has made diabetes a smaller part of my life. No more shots 4+ times a day. No more excusing myself to find a private place for a shot before or after a meal.

I was misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes in April 2005. I started my treatment with pills. Later we learned that I actually had LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults) and that I would eventually need to transition to insulin management. The idea of needles and shots made me cringe. I continued to try and manage blood glucose without insulin. My blood glucose levels became harder and harder to manage.

While on vacation in April 2007, we noticed that my nine-year-old daughter was experiencing familiar symptoms. A trip to the doctor confirmed our fears that she had type 1 diabetes. Our hearts ached as we thought about the challenges she would have to face for the rest of her life. Of all of our children (and we have a bunch!), our nine-year-old daughter is the most sensitive emotionally and physically. She has always abhorred needles and pain. We started on insulin together. I reasoned that if she could do it, I could do it.

My wife is a tremendous help to my daughter and me as she takes care of both of us as well as the rest of our family. She constantly worries about each of us. She learned about the OmniPod when she searched for articles about Nick Jonas (a teenage popstar) after she heard he had been diagnosed with diabetes. She called me very excited one day when she learned about the OmniPod. The past two months have been filled with web searches, email discussions, phone calls, doctor visits, and insurance forms. Last week, the OmniPod starter kit arrived. I met with a CDE for the setup and training a few days later.

We are absolutely impressed with the support and service that Insulet provided to set me up with the OmniPod. Over the next few months, we hope to be able to have my daughter start using the OmniPod as well.

During our research on the OmniPod, I noticed a need for a website that pulled OmniPod information from all over the internet into one place. Insulet has a good website for marketing the OmniPod but it lacks a community to support users of the OmniPod. This blog is intended to gather the experiences of OmniPod users into one place so that we can help each other 'make diabetes a smaller part of our lives.'

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Insulet Adds Manufacturing Capacity

Outsourcing-Pharma.com reports that Insulet is increasing the manufacturing capacity by outsourcing the production of the Omnipod to Flextonics...
Recently Insulet announced a new arrangement to outsource the production of its insulin pump to contract engineering firm Flextronics International.

US-based Insulet called in for reinforcements after it was unable to make enough of the insulin devices, called Omnipod, to keep up with market demand.

There are only a few insulin pumps on the market, but the Omnipod device reportedly uses an advanced pump technology and is disposable and wireless, making it, according to some, cheaper and easier to use than competing products.