After nearly a month of Multiple Daily Injections (MDI), I was anxious to get back on an insulin pump. I decided to make a big switch and try the Omnipod 5 system. If you're not familiar, Omnipod 5 is a tubeless insulin pump that uses a separate device to receive commands, check status, and perform a pod change. The system also communicates with my continuous glucose monitor and can make adjustments in real-time based on my blood sugars (this is called an "Automated Insulin Delivery" system). It's worth noting my previous insulin pump also had the AID feature, but the algorithm was different (more on that later).
Welcome to my first ever blog post about Omnipod, I'm excited to share a few observations after a pod-filled week!
Tubeless really is a game changer
This one actually surprised me.
It may sound strange, but the tubeless feature of Omnipod 5 was not the biggest selling point for me. I have spent the last 20+ years managing diabetes with a variety of insulin pumps -- all of which had tubes. I was used to tubing and honestly didn't mind it. So, I was pretty shocked at the difference going tubeless made. For reference, the pod itself is a little smaller than my airpods case and while I thought it was going to feel bulgy, it actually blends in nicely under my clothes. I can finally wear pants without pockets and don't have to worry about getting the tube perfectly tucked back in after using the restroom.
And I never get caught on a doorknob, iykyk.
I never have to see the needle 👀
Whoa. You read that right. Just peel off the backing, place it on the skin, and initiate the insertion via the PDM. Double whoa - the insertion really is the most painless I've ever experienced!
I think this makes OP5 a great option for younger patients since the "painful" portion of the operation doesn't have to be initiated by a parent or caregiver (remember, it's really quite painless too). And sure, I'm used to needles by this point in my T1D journey, but it doesn't mean I enjoy seeing them.
I can customize parts of the algorithm
I always imagine some robotic booming voice when you mention, "THE ALGORITHM". The truth is, the algorithm is always a black box to us as users -- a proprietary company secret. Yes, we know the inputs -- basal rates, sensitivity factors, target glucose, and carb ratios, but the guts of the math behind the scenes is always a bit mysterious. I get it, but also it's frustrating (especially for an engineer!).
I found the Juicebox Podcast episodes about optimizing startup on the Omnipod 5 very helpful. It gives us some clues into the almighty algorithm and how to get it dialed in right out of the box. Surprisingly, my second day ever wearing OP5 I had a time in range near 100% 🤯. I love that the target glucose and ranges can be customized, plus you can set up schedules. This means if you want your target glucose a little higher overnight you can totally do that!
This may seem trivial but I really appreciate the Omnipod 5 packaging. My previous pump system had four separate pieces of hardware to gather up before I could perform a site change, and that doesn't count the pump or the insulin! The Omnipod 5 includes everything in ONE package! It feels like less waste and an increased probability that I will successfully grab everything for a pod change in one trip.
It also means fewer interactions between the user and the hardware (for example, I don't have to install a reservoir or monitor the prime sequence), which means fewer opportunities for errors.
The 1 week verdict?
After the insurance and endocrinologist hurdles, initiating the Omnipod 5 was very simple! I'm still fine-tuning my scheme for workouts and getting used to carrying an extra controller that's not attached to me, but I'm looking forward to my 2023 space "PODyssey" 👩🚀🧡