Medtronic’s Innovations in 2020

Short Description
Hannah writes about the updates Medtronic has made in 2020
Contributor
Hannah Davis, Texas State University, San Marcos '22

Medtronic has been releasing commercialized insulin pumps since 1983, but they’re still making innovations in 2020! They recently released their newest addition to the family – the MiniMed 770G system. This new insulin pump is able to work with the MiniMed MioTM Advance infusion set, which was released in the U.S. this past summer. Another new improvement with the pump is its ability to connect to smartphones through an app. The new insulin pump is a hybrid closed loop system like its predecessor, the MiniMed 670G system. I’m excited about the new insulin pump and the benefits it will offer!

As a company, Medtronic relies on feedback from its customers about what improvements can be made to products. When they released the MiniMed 670G system, myself and a lot of my diabetic counterparts thought the same thing; the pump should have the ability to be accessed with their phone. The MiniMed 770G system will be almost identical to the MiniMed™ 670G system, with the addition of Bluetooth smartphone capability. Due to this change in connectivity, current Medtronic customers can upgrade to the new system and will receive training on how to connect their devices when making the switch. The app will have three screens, with some similarities to the app currently used by those wearing the Guardian Connect CGM system.

Components

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"The MiniMed 770G ™ system will be almost identical to the MiniMed™ 670G system, with the addition of Bluetooth smartphone capability."

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This new, exciting three-screen feature will display:

  1. active insulin and current blood sugar readings;
  2. a stats-heavy screen that features: time-in-range, average glucose value, as well as time out-of-range for both hyper and hypo levels; and
  3. a pump function screen that will show pump and CGM battery life, CGM connection, and when the next calibration is due. This screen will also show how much insulin is in the reservoir.

I am excited that phone connectivity will allow for notifications to be sent to your phone, while also preventing the need to pull out a pump to view levels! The app will allow the pump user to connect up to five people to their system so that they can view what’s happening in real-time from wherever they are. This function will also help parents of T1D children to review their child’s level from anywhere, bringing peace of mind.

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"I am excited that phone connectivity will allow for notifications to be sent to your phone, while also preventing the need to pull out a pump to view levels!"

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Growing up, my best friend was a T1D. At our first sleepover, her family showed mine how to do all of her pump stuff – how to check her blood glucose levels, and the works. They texted both their daughter and my parents asking what her levels were etc. Parents of T1D children would be able to check their kids blood sugar whenever and wherever they were, even if their kid isn’t with them; I’m sure a lot of parents would appreciate having that luxury. It would hopefully give them less anxiety about their child and set their mind at ease. The parents of my friend are happy to know that’s an option for parents now, as it would set their minds at ease back then.

For college students, in particular, both the MiniMed 770G system and the MiniMed Mio Advance infusion set offer unique benefits not seen before in previous generations of Medtronic devices. Having the ability to share information with family or friends can be beneficial; with the hustle and bustle of school life, it is easy to not put your diabetes first. Family and friends being able to check-in on their own (without having to ask directly) allows them to be a pillar of support – whether it is a reminder to slow down and check their blood sugar, take care of an out-of-range level, or simply congratulate for stable blood glucose levels.

After a full day of school, I often just want to go to bed and recoup from my day – rather than sit and deal with my diabetes. Personally, knowing my mom will get alerted if I haven’t calibrated in a while, or if I haven’t taken care of an out-of-range blood sugar, will encourage me to be more on top of my diabetes care. The new phone capabilities will also permit easier visits with clinical care teams. There will no longer be a need to upload to CareLink every visit; the phone app will do so automatically! This allows for faster endocrinologist visits. Having the ability to do an infusion set process one-handed would avoid having to carve out time to change sites. I can’t wait to, for instance, be in the middle of writing a paper and be able to do that process with one hand while typing the paper with the other!

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"There will no longer be a need to upload to CareLink™ every visit; the phone app will do so automatically!"

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For those customers looking to upgrade from their current pump to the MiniMed 770G system, there are a few ways to do so. Customers on the Next Tech Pathway plan will be able to go through that program to get the upgrade. For customers on the standard plan with Medtronic, they will be able to upgrade to the MiniMed  770G system for a fee. Incoming Medtronic customers will also be able to immediately access the MiniMed 770G system once approved by their clinical care team.

Continuing their exciting upcoming innovations, Medtronic has released a new insertion device for the U.S. – the MiniMed Mio Advance. While it is currently available in the UK and select countries throughout Europe, it was rolled out here in late September. The MiniMed  Mio  Advance is a 90-degree insertion device that is designed to be done one-handed. It is a single press release; the MiniMed  Mio has a double press release, a hidden needle within the device, and a four-step insertion process. Having personally tested out the device, the insertion is easier to do than its predecessor and easy to learn! For the site itself, there is a slight difference in size as well as shape compared to that of the MiniMed  Mio – as well as a change in the formula for the adhesive. I was able to test out the MiniMed  Mio Advance, as mentioned earlier, and found it easier to learn as a first-time user than the MiniMed  Mio. The insertion device itself is a similar shape to that of the Freestyle Libre 14-day system. However, the whole component does not press down – just the white button on top.

These new Medtronic technologies show just how much Medtronic listens and values its customer base. With the addition of phone access that has sharing capabilities to the one-handed infusion sets, Medtronic has forged a strong path for future generations of technology. As a college student, the phone aspect of the MiniMed™ 770G system will make balancing college, work, and diabetes much easier. While I am in no means ashamed of being a diabetic, there are times when I don’t want random people knowing about it; being able to view my blood glucose levels, etc. from my smartphone will give me the luxury of controlling others’ ability to know my levels. It grants a level of privacy that is not available when needing to pull out their pump every time. The one-press infusion sets are something that I am very excited about because I have osteoarthritis, and this new device is easier on my joint than the MiniMed Mio set. After writing or typing up papers, oftentimes, by the end of the day (or vice versa), my fingers are so swollen I can’t press the sides of the MiniMed  Mio infusion set. I do my site in the morning, and it leaves my fingers too agitated to type all day. So, having one button that’s on top of the infusion device is a huge plus with the new set. I am looking forward to seeing what Medtronic does in the future with their diabetes technology.

Editor's note: The MiniMed 770G system is now available - you can learn more here.
Medtronic Diabetes is a CDN Corporate Member. 

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Hannah's headshot
Title
Hannah Davis
Description

Hannah “Beth” Davis is the leader/president of the CDN Chapter in San Marcos, TX (DiadragonsSM). She will graduate in 2022 from Texas State University, San Marcos with a B.A. in psychology. She also runs a diabetic Instagram page called @t.1.d_gal.