Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My Dream Pump

Like Aiming For Grace, I'm continuously amazed at the poor design of some diabetes products. However, unlike her, I'm looking past the physical and more toward the techy details. Hey, it's the geek in me. I'm all about user friendly. So any manufacturers that happen to be reading, listen up now!

Why don't all BD 30 unit syringes have half unit markings? Why do they have boxes of syringes that have them, and boxes that don't? That's just silly. Put them on all the 30 unit syringes.

What about my Ultrasmart? It's geared at pump users in many ways, but the pump bolus only increments at 0.1 units. My pump increments at 0.05 units. Would it have been that hard to make it match a common pump bolus increment? And while I'm at it, why doesn't the Ultrasmart have a strip light? And why do they still require a whole microliter of blood, when Accu-chek, BD, Bayer, and Abbott all have meters that take less?

My own pump, the Cozmo, I love, but I have many annoyances with it. Most of these are being solved with the upgrade currently being rolled out, but some still exist. I really wish there was a good way to see data from the pump. It stores 4,000 events, but has no useful way of organizing this. I shouldn't HAVE to log, but I do have to. And the Cozmonitor adds so much bulk that I don't use it. And the case situation is a disaster. And why do pumps still us IR to communicate?

And why, please, are there no pens that can dose in half units (besides the Novopen Jr.), or even *gasp* quarter units.

This brings me to my dream pump, heavily inspired by the new Apple iPhone, and noticeably a blend of many features currently found in pumps that need improving.

I love how the iPhone is entirely controlled by a color touch screen. You could SO incorporate that into a pump. My dream pump would have a color touch screen. And the screen would have sensors, like the iPhone, that would allow it to orientate the display to the way I am holding it. The closest thing to this now is the Accu-Chek Spirit, that allows you to reverse the screen to see it either way. It currently takes a series of several button pushes to accomplish this though. The appropriate screens would display when you needed them. An on screen keyboard would let you search in the food database (which would hold a huge database, and automatically update to include new foods through the internet when you communicate with your Mac or PC or even Linux computer). And on screen number pad will display when appropriate. It will be like the layered menus of today, only they will be selected via touch. And have pretty symbols that go with it, for kids that are less literate.

It will be waterproof, though I am sure that will be a feet with a touch screen. I'm sure it could be done.

You pick your reservoir size- 100, 200, 300, or 400 units. And it will have a setting for U-400 or U-500 insulin. The reservoir will be flat, not round, and site in the back of the pump. This will let it stay thinner. A rechargeable battery would be nice. Again, not sure how this will work with the waterproof.

The pump will allow more extensive programming than currently available. Program a super bolus! Or a complex temporary rate (80% over 2 hours, then 120% for the next half hour, for example). Say you have lows overnight after exercising. Set a temp rate before bed to begin at 1am! And alarms will be customizable. There's no reason for a low reservoir alarm to go off at 2 am if I have enough to get me through the rest of the night. There's no reason to have a high volume alarm in a meeting when a vibrate would suffice, though if I have an alarm set to remind me to test at 3am, I might want the high volume then, and vibrate won't work then.

The computer software will allow all programming to be done, but also create extensive reports I can email my doctor. AND they will decide whether a blood sugar check was before or after a meal by when I gave a bolus last, NOT whether I took it at 12:00 or 12:01. Cause that's just silly, and a HUGE annoyance of mine.

Communication will be bluetooth. It will communicate via bluetooth with my computer. And the meter(s) of my choice. A small extension could snap into the data port or the strip port on the meter and allow the meters I use to communicate with my pump's bluetooth. This is good, since most people use more than 1 meter. And there will be a bluetooth remote too. And the remote will have a small LCD screen so you can program more than just a bolus with the remote. I also think it would be awesome if they could make a small pad that is a food scale that communicates via bluetooth. Parents could have one at home, one at school, and one at Grandma's. You put the plate on the pad, and add food, selecting it from the pump's food database. Then the pump recommends a bolus. Carb counting truly made easy.

The pump will be able to read things on the screen for children, people who can't see the screen, or illiterate people. In many languages. If Mom and Dad speak Spanish at home, but Mrs. School-Nurse, RN, speaks English? Not a problem!

I could probably go on all day about this. But it really seems like with the rate other technology is approaching, diabetes products are behind the days. I'd really like to see more true life pumpers help companies develop their products.


Jamie said...

Wow Megan - those are some great ideas!

Dani is not on the pump, so I don't know what sort of problems arise with the use of it - but I do wonder why the BD syringes don't ALL have 1/2 units on them - or why pens don't have 1/2 units. We don't use a pen for that reason alone.

Great ideas!

Allison said...


These ideas are great! I was also impressed by the iPhone and am greatly looking forward to the Cozmo updates!

:o) Allison

Lili said...

Good post!

BD makes a pen that does half units, but I'm not sure what kinds of insulin cartridges fit it - Novolog doesn't.

What I don't understand is why BD gave the half-units syringes I use the same id number as another kind of syringe, or why they made the regular and half unit boxes look almost identical. They could have saved me a boatload of trouble! I wrote them a letter, but I never heard anything back.

jill. said...

You should design pumps! You have some great and practical ideas! (and what is BD thinking by skimping on those half-unit markings?)

Bernard said...


I like these ideas. I think what may hold pump makers back is needing to get FDA approval for new features. I don't know this to be true, but it's a working assumption of mine.

The amount of customization with current pumps is just awful. For example, how about a quick bolus setting so I could press some key once for (say) 0.3 units, twice for 1.0 units, and three times for 1.5 units. In other words let me choose what each press gives me.

Bluetooth is the obvious choice for pumps. For meters I think they should choose USB or bluetooth. I'd bet that USB would only cost pennies per unit and some of the USB ports come with memory capabilities that might save money. Plus many of us already have USB cables, so no more buying funky over priced cables so we can get our data.

Maybe someone needs to setup a 'My Dream Insulin Pump' blog and see if we can get some manufacturers to think about these ideas.

justme said...

awesome ideas!! Thanks for your comments on pumping. It is so much better getting ino and commetns from people who have actually tried using it or are using it...

EZRA said...

I'm a young diabetic designer(14 to be exact).I've designed iPumps. I love your ideas. I wish i could show you pics. One thing that drives me up a wall is infusion sets.I,m a athletic skinny guy.My problem is that the Cleo 90 sets clogup.So i have to change my port every one or two days. Does any one have this problem two. Thanks