Insulet's Second-Generation Omnipod
Learn about the smaller, thinner, and lighter pod.
By Adam Brown and Kelly Close, diaTribe
The next-generation OmniPod was recently approved in the US – after receiving approval in the EU in 2011 – and we finally got to try it! The next-generation pod has about 2,000 users in the EU and just a few users in the US, as it just began shipping to brand new pumpers last week and will start going to current OmniPod wearers over the next month. (That may not seem fair, but it's because existing patients will be upgraded when they reorder supplies, meaning they need to use up their old pods first.) This new technology took quite a while to be approved by the FDA — it was originally submitted in May 2011.
What's new about the second-generation OmniPod?
- It is MUCH smaller. Specifically, the new OmniPod is an impressive 34% smaller, 25% lighter, and 16% slimmer than its predecessor. Insulet made three key changes to enable this: one less battery, a new reservoir shape, and a refined insertion system. There's no question that the new OmniPod immediately looked and felt much smaller when we first put it on!
- The second-generation OmniPod's handheld controller ("PDM") has some new "human factor screens" that we were really excited to see (see below). The FDA has placed increasing concern on human factors, and though the regulatory delays are lamentable, they do ensure a safer pumping experience for patients.
- Insulin-on-board (IOB) now appears on the home screen of the PDM – it's great to see this front and center, since we both tend to use it so often and it's annoying to press buttons and track this down in menus. Furthermore, Insulet has added a new feature that breaks insulin-on-board into components: meal and correction. No other pump on the market does this, and we found it useful for getting a much better sense of how insulin-on-board was divvied up.
- The bolus calculator now uses both correction and meal boluses to calculate IOB. This was a big addition that many patients and healthcare providers have been calling for many years. Previously, only correction boluses were used, meaning IOB did not reflect all the insulin that was truly on board.
- We both really liked the insertion of the new OmniPod. Compared to infusion sets with durable pumps, the OmniPod's insertion was already an advantage with the first-generation pump – as a reminder, it is lightning fast (the needle goes in at 1/200 of a second), it is automated and controlled from the PDM, and you can't actually see the needle. With the new system, the needle is the same size, but feels a little different. According to the company, the needle inserts and retracts using only one spring (it was previously two), which we think makes the insertion much smoother. It is also less noisy – this didn't bother Kelly before, but sort of bothered Adam – it sounds a little more "happy" now when the pod goes in, where before it sometimes sounded a bit cranky. Once the pod has been inserted, there is now a pink visual confirmation at the top of the pod, just to make triple sure the pod's insertion mechanism has actuated – "listen, look and feel" said our trainer Rob Campbell (and one of the strategic brainpowers at the company).
- Experience drives product refinement – Insulet says it has incorporated the experience and learnings from producing close to 20 million pods and the experience of over 40,000 customers to enhance and make improvements in the new pod design.
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After about a month off the Omnipod and using MDIs again, I’d adjusted to the details of the Lantus and Humalog dance. My skin wasn’t chronically itchy and sensitive. My pants didn’t irritate my pod site. And my blood sugars were surprisingly better controlled. I experienced consistently in range numbers compared to the variability of the Omnipod. Last month, the CDE said something that I know I’ve heard before but it hit a chord. Her own daughter was type 1 and switched between...