Monday, November 2, 2009

Animas Ping...first weekend review

Cadence's new insulin pump arrived at the office on the weekend! The much awaited Animas Ping!

My review of "the new hotness":

The Animas Ping is Johnson & Johnson's newest product for diabetes, updating a great previous model in the animas 2020. Cadence has been pumping with the 2020 since March of 2008 and we've never regretted our Animas decision for a single day. Awesome company lined with an incredible device. The Ping was a bit of surprise release as the blogs, boards, and tweets all predicted that an Animas/Dexcom integrated product would be the next release but that has lost quite a bit of attention. My intuition tells me that they can't find a way to integrate an infusion set with a CGM sensor from a cost effectiveness standpoint and also how to make them last/fail at the same rate. Likely a hurdle that can't be solved in the short term, but I digress.

The Animas Ping is a swank new sparkle pink color (or green, or silver, or blue etc), and a bit bigger, probably 1cm longer than the 2020 predecessor. Aside from a small size difference, the guts of the pump are relatively unchanged. The display and readout are similar with some additional customizable features with sounds/alerts than what was offered on the 2020. One thing that Animas neglected was to add the IOB onto the home screen. This was a much talked about miss that the bloggers/boards discussed 2 years ago regarding the 2020 was that you had 3-4 screens to go through to get to the Insulin on Board. As any pumper or parent of one in our case, the IOB is just as valuable than seeing the current basal rate, especially for temping.

The magic of the Ping however, is the wireless function of the OneTouch Ping glucose meter. You literally have a remote display of the pump in the glucose meter. You can bolus from the meter without having to fish the pump out of yours or your running like mad toddler to push buttons. She can continue to run laps around the kitchen with a crayon coloring the drywall while you sit in a chair and casually bolus for her to speak :-) . For those operating their own pump, the big advantage is discretion in that you don't have to reach into your clothing to remove the pump, you can do everything via the meter.

EXCEPT: change your basal rate, or temp your basal! That's right, you can bolus insulin but not change basal rate unless you have the pump in hand. (Yes, you read that correctly.)

With Cadence, we probably temp her basal rate at least 1x day if not more depending on sugar and activity. To not include this option onto the Ping meter can only be described as an EPIC FAIL. So we still have to fish the pump out while holding her down to tweak the basal rate. I'd love to know the reasons behind leaving this feature out but likely it was a time to market decision. Hopefully this is fixed soon with a software update. When we ordered the Ping I didn't even research as to whether this would be included.

This massive gaff in R&D judgement aside, I can't even begin to describe how much we love the new Ping. Proof in the pudding was at Cadence's Halloween party, her pump was buried under layers of princess costume and we never had to interrupt her play sessions other than for a quick blood test. The discretion that being "wireless" with the pump provides is just so valuable. Especially now as Cadence realizes that she's a bit different from everyone else. More proof of that was at each house she trick or treated at she followed the treat with "I don't wike candy..." and walked down the steps. It was hilarious to say the least. For her social circle though, for the other kids to not see a device connected with tubing to her body 24/7 is valuable enough for her self esteem to warrant the cost of the upgrade from the 2020.

Overall, this is a tremendously good product that is long overdue. The Ping pump carries the same great information and user friendliness found in the layout and function of the 2020 pump. The Ping blood checker works as well as any other OneTouch meter and the menus are easy to navigate and the setup between the pump and meter is very intuitive.

For those on the fence regarding an upgrade, in my opinion a worthwhile one indeed. For those contemplating a pump for yourself or your child, the Animas product is as good as they come!



Mrs. Anderson said...

I found your site through a google search. I have been a diabetic for 20 years (got it when I was 9) and I am now thinking about going on the pump. I was curious if you have to use the one touch meter? or can you use another meter? I realize I would have to type in my blood glucose reading, but I don't mind. Do you know if you can do that with the remote?

Brad Kane said...

Hi Mrs. Anderson, you don't specifically have to use the onetouch meter as you can manually enter the blood sugar into either the onetouch meter or the pump itself. It's much more convenient to use the ping meter though and the new generation onetouch strips work great, very few short samples.