OmniPod PDM Test Drive
In the Test Drive section of diaTribe issue #4, I wrote about my experience with the first generation OmniPod. I called it "one of the best products that has come along in a decade" for two main reasons. First, for me, there is less hassle with disposable pumping and it's much smaller than traditional pumps. Second, as a tubeless insulin pump, it allows an added level of discretion since the insulin reservoir is tucked away into a pod that automatically inserts the cannula and sits on your body without the need for an infusion set. No one sees it. The pod wirelessly communicates with a Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM; looks a lot like a BlackBerry), which is the control center for giving insulin instructions and also doubles as a blood glucose meter, a food database, and a logbook. This brings me to the crux of this issue's Test Drive: the new OmniPod PDM released in June 2009.
The two biggest changes to the OmniPod PDM have to do with how the device looks and downloading information from the device. I'll start with the first.
An edge-on view of the new OmniPod PDM (left) next to the old.
Smaller, Sleeker, and More Color
The side-by-side pictures of the first generation PDM next to the newer one (model UST200) don't necessarily give you the best sense of the improvements made to the device. Overall, the PDM looks and feels much sleeker than the older version and the screen is considerably larger in the newer version. The new PDM is thinner and less bulbous than its predecessor, and while it isn't that much smaller than the old version, the streamlined shape makes it feel far more compact. I was really taken by the crisp color on-screen, a marked improvement over the often difficult-to-read previous version, which had black text over a blue backlight. And, very cool, the command buttons have all been reworked to be smaller and more intuitive as a navigation tool. Overall, the new PDM is still not quite at iPhone level but it's moving in the right direction.
The screen of the new PDM (top)--with skin--compared to the old version (bottom).
The first generation PDM had limited data download capabilities. The device had no connection ports save for an infrared port that I never really used (although we've heard there was a downloading software available via infrared). The new PDM (called the UST200) has a mini-USB port, much like you would find for most digital cameras. This enables you to connect your PDM directly to your laptop to download graphs and reports of insulin delivery, blood glucose, and carbohydrate records. You can also track changes in all your personal settings with the PDM Settings Report. This downloading feature uses the CoPilot Health Management System software that was initially created for use with Abbott FreeStyle blood glucose monitors. The only caveat is that CoPilot is designed solely for use with Windows-based computers. We're a Mac family and diaTribe is a Mac team, so I wish this were easier, but it's great to be able to download.
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On endo appointment days, we first go into a small room where Charlie has his height and weight measured and recorded. The nurse also pricks his finger and absorbs a small drop of blood to which she feeds into an A1c machine. “Do you want?” Charlie asked, offering up his blood like a potato chip. “No,” I said. “We’re fine.” In the past, we wouldn’t let the blood go to waste without also checking blood sugar. ...