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Things to Consider on Picking an Insulin Pump

by Kim GreeneFebruary 17, 2021
Things to Consider on Picking an Insulin Pump

So you're picking a new insulin pump. How exciting is that? 

Insulin pumps have come a long way and are more advanced than ever, and we have more choices than ever before. So how do you pick the right one? 

Choosing an Insulin Pump 

Before you continue reading, please remember consult your healthcare provider if you want to make changes to your therapy or otherwise. 

So with that said, how do you pick an insulin pump from all the ones available on the market? Let’s start with taking a blank piece of paper and writing down a list of all insulin pumps available to you. This step may require a phone call to your insurance provider, or your diabetologist. 

An Approach to Help You Pick the Right Pump

If you live in the US, for example, let's just likely to have electronic pump such as 670, G, tandem and an omni-pot. In Europe, the list is more likely to be much longer with three pumps. Obviously, availability and access depends widely on where you are. Once you have your list, try to find out some key information about each pump. The CODI approach works here, where you’ll measure CGM glucose, overriding factors, design, and insulin fusion. 

CGM Glucose

So for instance, how are you currently measuring your blood glucose level? Or how are you going to measure it once you get an insulin pump?  For example, electronic insulin pumps link with our sensors control next meter, so you can actually bolus using your meter which links to your pump. For Medtronic pumps it's Medtronic CGM, for Dana or tandem it's dexcom CGM G6. 

Overriding Factors

Lots of users consider this as top priority. And so obviously, this list will be very personal to you. But to give you an example, one major overriding factor you can consider is a DIY looping. THis alone can limit the list of pumps you can work with. Also, if this is your first time buying insulin pump, think about the reason why you are getting one in the first place. What was the thing that made you or your healthcare team suggests starting in insulin pump therapy? 

Design

As for design, the most important question here is tubed or patched tube pumps. And these pumps have infusion sets, which are different lengths. They are attached to your body using clip-ons. 

A chipless or a patch pump is attached to your body separately, like the Insulet Omnipod. These are controlled using a separate remote that communicates wirelessly with the pump itself beyond tube or tubeless. 

Think about the design in general, how does this device look at you're going to be using this pump for approximately four years, there's actually quite a long period of time. To put that into perspective, on average, we change our jobs every 4.2 years. So think about whether you like how a particular device looks. 

Insulin Infusion 

You want to check that the insulin you are currently using is approve  for the insulin pump that you are considering. After going through the CODI method, you may find that some pumps are an absolute no-no while some pumps may stand out, and that is the whole point. 

Making Your Pump Fit Your Lifestyle

Next think outside the box about insulin pump therapy. A very important part of picking an insulin pump might be knowing how much stuff you need to carry with me every day. Obviously, this will really depend on your therapy and what you do in your diabetes management. 

If you want to get a better idea of what are the uses of the pump, consider carrying with them on daily basis. Otherwise, just go to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter or any social media, type the name of the pump that you are considering, and you'll be able to find some great pictures very, very quickly of what people carry with them on a daily basis.

Also beyond the box, think outside the luggage. If you travel a lot for business, for example, and you will obviously carry at your pump supplies with you to your hand luggage. And if you combine that with your CGM supplies, and maybe some other diabetes supplies, it may take up quite a sizable part of your luggage. So think about how much volume you need to take with you. 

Now to learn even more about a pump, you may reach out to at least one user of those pumps. If you’re wondering about how to do that, it’s simple. You go on Instagram, or Twitter, and you just type the hashtag symbol and the name of the insulin pump that you are considering. From there, just hit someone's DMS asking them about things that you simply won't be able to find online. How is the customer service? Has the pump ever failed? If yes, how did the company respond to it? 

Now, you don't have to ask them all of these questions. These are just some of suggestions. But you’d do well to always ask master question, which is if you wish you knew one thing about a certain insulin pump before picking it, what would it be? What is the one thing you wish you knew about your pump before picking it? It could be a very positive thing, or a neutral or bad thing. You can tell them you’ve tried the hashtag search method and want to know more about insulin pumps before buying one of your own. 

Also remember to read up about future product updates. Maybe a brand new pump will be available where you live very shortly. Or maybe an update to an existing pump will be available soon, for example, tandem updates and their physical pump with new software all the time. 

Talk to Your Physician 

So now you're probably thinking, I know that this pump is definitely not for me, and this one might be and that's great. Now, please speak to your health care professional. They are here to help you, so don’t be afraid tell them why you think a certain pump is definitely not for you, or why you really want to try a different type of pump. And make sure you come together to pick your insulin pump. 

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