This week I have been to meet Helen, my lovely pump rep, who brought the new ‘Insight’ pump with her for me and my DSN to have a proper look at.
My first impressions were that the pump looked much nicer. It looked a lot smaller than the Accu-Chek Combo but in reality, the difference in size was hardly anything. What made it seem smaller was the sleekness of the pump. It is much more streamlined and has curved corners making it much easier to handle. It has also lost the protruding tubing connection. You know that bit that always gets caught on the lining of your pocket and digs in at night if you hang it on your pyjamas? Instead, this has been changed for a replaceable end to the pump casing which has the tubing contained. This keeps the tubing nice and neat and flush with the pump.
The next thing that got my attention was the screen. I know a lot of Combo users have commented that the current screen is not the easiest to read as it is quite small and dark. The Insight has a colour screen and is bigger, making it much easier to read. There is also the option to change the screen to show white on black or black on white which will be so helpful to those with vision issues. The buttons enable you to scroll through the menu and now have a ‘back’ button too so if you miss the option you need, rather than scrolling all the way through to find it again, you can go backwards. While we are on the subject of buttons, the new buttons are raised and much easier to press. The Combo buttons are very small and sunken to avoid being pressed accidentally. The Insight locks itself automatically so the buttons being accidentally knocked aren’t actually a problem.
The cartridges are the next difference. There will be two types. Prefilled glass cartridges of 160 units or manually fillable plastic cartridges of 200 units. In my opinion this is the only flaw as the current combo has 315 units. My cannula gets changed every 3 days and my TDD is 82. This exceeds both of the cartridges volumes. When I saw how easy the cartridge change was though, it made me realise that perhaps this would be something that I could live with. There is an automated cartridge filler now. It’s on a stand and you drop your cartridge in it vertically, with the connector to the insulin vial and press a button. The plunger bounces up and down drawing the insulin in and out so that you are left with a full, bubble free cartridge in about a minute. As the connection is different, there is much less chance of bubbles appearing.
So the pump itself looks and handles more comfortably. Replacing the cartridge it much easier and the new tubing connection makes the chances of bubbles much more reduced. Easy to read colour screen and the ability to scroll forward and backwards now.
As to its actual function, it has cut out some of the unnecessary steps. No more saying yes to a function then holding that fiddly little button down for 3 seconds. Cartridge changes automatically suspend insulin delivery so if you have a TBR on or are in the middle of an extended bolus it will suspend that and resume on cartridge reconnection, you don’t have to stop the pump and cancel the programmes.
The pump is as waterproof as the last. When it comes out of the factory it is classed as waterproof as it is fully sealed etc. But with use, there may be minute cracks that appear which would make it not as waterproof as when it leaves the factory. So although it will be ok for splashes etc and probably a drop in the loo (you know, when you have it in your back pocket ladies and have to pull your trousers down for the loo and your pocket contents empty out, phone, ipod, pump etc) it is not advisable to go swimming with it on. I think that Helen said any water damage is covered under the warranty anyway.
The meter has a full colour touch screen. It is bigger than the current meter but that is to accommodate the touch screen. It’s bigger but thinner and the case it comes with has the mesh bag inside to help with storage, like the Accu-Chek expert pump has. It has a status screen that is easy to view which shows you the number of units left in your cartridge and the amount of active insulin still in your system or insulin on board. The meter is rechargeable bringing it much more up to date. If you have a smart phone, you will be fine with this! There are also videos downloaded onto the meter which show you how to use your pump and meter, how to change your cartridge etc.
Infusion Sets are changing too! Not the cannulas themselves but the connection and the insertion method. There were no TenderLinks to see at the viewing but the FlexLink was. The introducer for that, the LinkAssist, has again been slimmed down and is much more user friendly. It certainly doesn’t look as scary as the old one! It has a pressure pad on one of its ‘feet’ so when it is in contact with your body it unlocks the system allowing you to fire it rather than having the fiddly locking and unlocking buttons. As the cannula is drawn into the introducer, putting it in the ‘fire’ mode, the needle comes out. Once fired the needle tucks back in making it safer from a sharps perspective. Also, as you don’t have to take the needle cover off, it is much better for needle phobics and I imagine for children too. The needle is hardly seen with this process. The tubing clips onto all the cannulas. The connector is flat and longer than some of the current ones making it easier to hold when connecting/disconnecting.
Overall, I was very impressed with the system. Roche appear to have listened to the users and made the whole thing much more user friendly. I have sight issues and trouble with my hands caused by MS but it brings similar usability problems as someone with neuropathy. This system would make my continued use of a pump much more possible. Due to contracts however, it looks like I won’t be able to get one as I am not quite 2 years into a 4 year contract. For now I will have to continue to rely on others to help me with the current pump. But I see no reason why the new Insight system wouldn’t give me more independence as I will be able to use it myself with its improvements and I think others will feel the same.
Hate the fact that I have to end on a negative but there is a big one. Release has been delayed AGAIN until the end of the year!