I am the father of a child diagnosed last year with T1 Diabetes. Within several months of diagnosis, despite the lack of encouragement by our "world renowned" diabetes/endo clinic, we chose the omnipod for our son. He was the first one under the age of 12 to use one in their clinic. It was a personal choice for us and him, due mainly to the fact that we thought it was very competitive with all of the features and functions of other pumps, yet provided him additional freedom due to the lack of the tubing and the controller being attached to him. The pod itself is a little large for a 4 year old, but he wears it on his abdomen or lower back. As he gets older, and bigger we imagine he might want to wear it on his upper arm.
The integration of the freestyle meter in the pod is a big convenience as well. Inputting the BG readings manually every time would be a huge pain in the a--.
In the interest of full disclosure, the pod's performance has been spotty. We went through a recent stretch where the pods were shutting off, or coming up with an error. Not a huge problem, we just switch to another pod, but when you change 3-4 in the course of a day or 2 its a big hassle. Sometimes the pod will get occluded which will cause them to shut down also. We would not consider switching to another pump at this point, the trade off to us is worth it, but hopefully we will not have consistent performance issues.
The PDM controller is easy to use, but can also be improved dramatically in my mind. User interface in all insulin pumps is not as easy as say an mp3 player or cell phone.
Cost is $30 per pod. I think the PDM controller was around $1,000. We use other consumable items like alcohol wipes, adhesive remover etc. All of it is covered by insurance. In our case we have CIGNA.
I understand Insulet started its marketing on the East Coast and is heading west, so am not surprised to hear some docs have not heard of it.
Dexcom relationship should be a good one, although I thought they were working with Abbott to integrate the Navigator continuous sensor. It probably indicates that Abbott is still having trouble getting sensor through FDA and Insulet didn't want to be left behind without a sensor. I was hoping however that the closer they worked with Abbott, the more interest Abbott would have in an acquisition.
While a CGM would be awesome especially overnight, wearing another sensor with something else under your skin in another part of your body is going to be difficult for younger patients. We were hesitant about trying a CGM. If it gets reimbursed and can help us get some sleep (my wife mainly) we might consider it. If they could somehow integrate it fully into one disposable device (which I doubt because of the size and technical difficulty and what if scenarios if one of the two devices fails before you've run its 3 day life), then we would almost definitely do it.
I fully expect other pump companies to move towards this model - Medtronic, Animas, Cozmo, etc. Hopefully Insulet has locked up some good IP that will make them an attractive acquisition candidate as they continue to gain traction in the market.
One problem for Insulet will be getting T1 pump users to switch from another pump. Pump choice / use is an intensely personal decision, and pump users are very defensive of their choices. Plus, insurance only allows for a new pump every 3-5 years.
I am long the stock and hope to see great things from this company. I am a business person in healthcare as well and an avid investor. I've worked a little in the diabetes space, and in some cases with some of the companies that compete in the space. I welcome any questions from the board. Good to see some docs on here as well. Think it will make for good discourse on the company/stock. Wondering how long it will take for the spam to start filtering in though.
The design and performance of the PODD needs much improvement and their partnership with DexCom is welcomed and a natureal extension of these systems. As you are caring for a child with Diabetes, the risk is ofcourse at the interface between two rather new systems that have defects that are "latent". By this, I mean that neither company has produced large quantities to identify the kind of fault conditions that can only be identified at high usage and large number of units. This is exactly what Glucose Monitoring companies went through over the past 20 years and to this date they have recalls on basic functionality. So beware of making your child an early adopter. The risk is to put too many eggs into this basket, one of which is your child's health.