At Medtronic, it is in our mission to have an understanding of what our patients go through on a daily basis. One way to foster this type of empathy is for employees to wear our products. This includes everyone from Operations, Research & Development, Sales, Marketing and the leadership team, including Omar Ishrak, CEO of Medtronic. Walking through the hall, you’ll often see a colleague with multiple sensors and won’t know if it’s one of our many employees who lives with diabetes or if it’s someone helping to test out different mechanisms, like alarms, transmitters and tapes.
My first week at Medtronic was no different. As Chief Patient Officer I knew it was important to have a better understanding of our therapy, so I jumped at the chance to try out our MiniMed 530G system (this was before our latest systems were approved). Obviously, as someone who doesn’t have diabetes, I will never understand the full impact of wearing an insulin pump and CGM. I didn’t go through the shock of a diabetes diagnosis nor did I have the emotions that come along with low and high blood sugars, but the experience was still very eye-opening for me.
Here are three things I learned:
I have a newfound RESPECT for people living with diabetes
I had no idea how overwhelming “living” with diabetes could be. I had to learn a new language, figure out what buttons to press, how I would sleep at night, and how best to carry a meter around with me. I certainly have more of an appreciation for the emotional aspects that are associated with diabetes. The mental effort that comes along with alarms, calibrations, fingerpricks, carb counting, and decision making is remarkable. It also made me realize that, as a company, we need to do our best to make things as easy as possible so that our products don’t take up any additional headspace. This really frames how I think about the job before me.
A culture of LISTENING, SERVING and ACTING upon insights for our patients is critical
As I set out on my career with Medtronic, I knew it was imperative to focus on insights. This all starts with our ability to listen. I want to make sure that both our team and the company as a whole are listening to and empathizing with the diverse opinions of people living with diabetes across the globe. We do this through several channels: social media, our MiniMed Ambassador group, people who use our products today and people who don’t. We also invite patients into our facility to hear what they have to say and sift through tens of thousands of surveys every year.
Innovation is driven by the patient’s voice. We’re motivated to make changes, and taking listening to the next level allows us to address your needs faster. This includes everyone in the organization, from Research & Development to Customer Service. Our goal is to translate what we hear into better designs, better products, and better services so that we can deliver the best care for our patients. The first step is for us to be accessible to our audience so you can voice your opinions and feedback. An effective way to gather this information is through surveys where we ask questions like: “Are our services meeting your needs?” and “How can we continue to improve our services for each of you?” Hearing from you is critical to the innovation process.
We need a FAMILY of products and services to meet the individual needs of those living with diabetes.
I meet frequently with many teams involved in product development, and it’s not just about major product designs. We meet about the simple things, too, because I realize these things are equally important and we can always do better.
As a company, I want us to think about features, like alarms. We ask questions like: Are they helpful, what triggers them, what noise do they make when they alert, do we need voice activated communication, and how can people customize the alarms to fit their needs? I also want us to think about the minority of people who might have skin reactions to tapes. How might we allow them to customize the tape they use for better wear?
I want to think about how to wear and protect the pump. In the past year and a half we’ve expanded our catalog of accessories to help with that. We’ve partnered with a lot of different companies and are always looking for new ideas.
We are constantly learning and improving. The MiniMed 670G system – coming out later this spring – is a major milestone in diabetes care. It was developed based on patients’ feedback about how difficult it is to keep glucose levels in range and how severely highs and lows can impact your life. The SmartGuard HCL technology in the MiniMed 670G system provides clinical benefits. And it helps you worry less, think about your diabetes less, and live a fuller life. We’re extremely proud of it, but are already working on the next iteration to make SmartGuard smarter, improve the user interface, make the alarms more customizable and more useful – all based on feedback from you.
I hope you’ve noticed our transition into a listening company and know that we are acting upon the insights provided to us. I hope you also feel engaged and know that you can always reach out to us with your thoughts, ideas and feedback. We come to work every day for you and want to transform diabetes care together.
Important Safety Information
The MiniMed 530G and 630G systems with SmartGuard technology are intended for the delivery of insulin and continuous glucose (CGM) monitoring for the management of diabetes mellitus in persons 16 years of age or older who require insulin. Insulin infusion pumps and associated components of insulin infusion systems are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks of insulin pump therapy. The systems are not intended to be used directly for preventing or treating hypoglycemia but to suspend insulin delivery when the user is unable to respond to the Threshold suspend (530G) or Suspend on low (630G) alarm and take measures to prevent or treat hypoglycemia themselves. The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a blood glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick via a CONTOUR®NEXT LINK portfolio meter*, is required prior to making adjustments to diabetes therapy. Always check the pump display when using a CONTOUR®NEXT LINK portfolio meter*, to ensure the glucose result shown agrees with the glucose results shown on the meter. Additional, warnings, precautions and contraindications apply. See www.medtronicdiabetes.com/support/download-library/user-guides and www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation for details.
MiniMed® 670G System
The Medtronic MiniMed 670G system requires a prescription and is intended for continuous delivery of basal insulin (at user selectable rates) and administration of insulin boluses (in user selectable amounts) for the management of Type 1 diabetes mellitus in persons, fourteen years of age and older, requiring insulin as well as for the continuous monitoring and trending of glucose levels in the fluid under the skin. The MiniMed 670G System includes SmartGuard technology, which can be programmed to automatically adjust delivery of basal insulin based on Continuous Glucose Monitor sensor glucose values, and can suspend delivery of insulin when the sensor glucose value falls below or is predicted to fall below predefined threshold values.
The Guardian Sensor (3) is not intended to be used directly for making therapy adjustments, but rather to provide an indication of when a finger stick may be required. All therapy adjustments should be based on measurements obtained using a home glucose monitor and not on values provided by the Guardian Sensor (3).
WARNING: Medtronic performed an evaluation of the MiniMed 670G system and determined that it may not be safe for use in children under the age of 7 because of the way that the system is designed and the daily insulin requirements. Therefore this device should not be used in anyone under the age of 7 years old. This device should also not be used in patients who require less than a total daily insulin dose of 8 units per day because the device requires a minimum of 8 units per day to operate safely.
Pump therapy is not recommended for people whose vision or hearing does not allow recognition of pump signals and alarms. Do not use the serter on products other than the Enlite sensor or Guardian Sensor (3). Medtronic cannot guarantee the safety or efficacy of this product if used with other products. The reservoir is contraindicated for the infusion of blood or blood products. Infusion sets are indicated for subcutaneous use only and not for intravenous (IV) infusion or the infusion of blood or blood products. Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for those who are unwilling to perform at least four blood glucose tests per day. As insulin pumps use rapid acting insulin only, BG testing is required to help identify rapid glycemic deterioration due to insulin infusion occlusion, infusion site problems, insulin stability issues, user error, or a combination of these. Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to maintain contact with their healthcare professional.
The safety of the 670G system has not been studied in people with impaired kidney function. Please let your healthcare professional know if you have kidney disease so you and your healthcare professional can determine if the potential benefits of using the system outweigh the risks. The safety of the 670G system has not been studied in pregnant women, people with type 2 diabetes, or in people using other anti-hyperglycemic therapies apart from insulin. Please let your healthcare professional know if any of these conditions apply to you so you and your healthcare professional can determine if the potential benefits of using the system outweigh the risks.
For complete safety information, please consult the appropriate User Guide.
*The CONTOUR®NEXT LINK 2.4 Meter is used with the MiniMed 630G and 670G systems. The CONTOUR®NEXT LINK Meter is used with the MiniMed 530G system.
Tags: Chief Patient Officer
, Louis Dias
, new products