Thursday, December 8, 2011

Random Thoughts - Features that Matter

When I first received my Animas pump after years with Minimed/ Medtronic I was incredibly excited to be able to program my pump from my meter.  No longer did I have to awkwardly stare down under the table at dinner, contort myself in a movie theater chair or worry about lifting up my shirt just to get access to my pump for my bolus.  For the first few weeks I thought programming my pump from my meter was like the greatest Christmas gift of all time.  But as time wore on the bulk of the meter out weighed the cirque de solei act I perform to sometimes bolus.

That got me to thinking what features really would make managing diabetes easier.  I'm not talking all out revolutions like the artificial pancreas project just simple product feature updates that would have huge value at a low cost.
  • Pump programming from my cell phone - Several phone and health companies have been working on incorporating a glucose meter into a cell phone. That would be a huge help but what would also be useful and perhaps a quicker win would be an insulin pump that could be programmed from an Android or Iphone app.  Lets face it the interface of pumps are freaking awful; the amount of buttons I have to hit to perform a simple task makes a bolus seem like a lunar landing.  Cell phone apps provide a simple elegant cheap solution to improve the UX and make programming a pump more intuitive.  Plus my cell phone already has a happy place in my pocket so its not like adding another device to deal with.      
  • Size - My favorite glucose meter is the One Touch ultra mini.  Its far from the most feature rich meter on the market but what it lacks in bells and whistles it makes up for in ease of carrying.  Whether exercising or wearing jeans the ultra-mini meter takes up a fraction of the space of most other meters while doing exactly what I need (and nothing more).  
  • Readability - Although Animas markets their pump as the easiest to read because of its color screen in bright sun light its really tough to read.  Further, the ultra-mini does not have a back light and several other meters are hard to turn the backlight on.  One would think since loss of eye sight can be a major complication of diabetes  more effort would be put into readability.
  • When the lights are off - to my knowledge the only meter which has a "flashlight" type feature is Freestyle.  I thought that idea was GENIUS.  Having to turn on the bedroom lights just to test is annoying and can disrupt our partners.  Alot of the time rather than turning on the bedroom light I shuffle to the bathroom to test at night.  Not only is that inconvenient its dangerous.   That same thought process exists for movie theaters, or any other dark environment.  We should be able to test wherever we are, not be forced to find a light to test under.
Those are just some of my thoughts on features that would be a huge help at a low cost.  You guys have any others?

1 comment:

Scott K. Johnson said...

Hi Ed!

This post struck a chord of relation with me (I'll explain).

I have been wearing the Cozmo insulin pump for a bunch of years now. But it's getting old and I know it won't last forever.

The Cozmo pump has a freestyle meter that actually clips right onto the back of the pump, then uses the screen and buttons on the pump to display readings and handle interaction. It makes the pump a bit thicker than most, but the trade off is that I don't have to carry a meter kit around. I can fit my pump (and attached meter), a vial of test strips, and a lancing device right in my belt pouch. It's super slick.

No pump on the market has anything like this, so when I do eventually switch I will need to start carrying a meter kit with me.

Major lifestyle adjustment.

With that in mind, I totally loved each and every point you made.