How I Chose My Insulin Pump and CGM

I recently ordered some Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Cyborg equipment. This blog posts explains which equipment I chose and why.

During my recent Type 1 Diabetes Camp for Adults, I heard from at least 30 individuals what they liked and disliked given their personal experiences with the different pumps and Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs). I learned that there are 3 main pump brands: Medtronic, Tandem, and OmniPod. They all have pros and cons, but most of the enthusiastically positive things I heard were regarding Tandem and Dexcom.

I later learned that my insurance (Kaiser Permanente) only offers Medtronic and Tandem + Dexcom (not OmniPod). Also, my doctor said that whatever I choose, I must stick with for 4 years! I began my research to learn more about my options:

Medtronic is a healthcare electronics company based in Ireland, with factories in places like China and Puerto Rico. They make their own CGMs too. Their latest pump was not really of interest to me because it provides some automation that keeps blood sugar at around 120. I would want to lower that number, but it is not configurable.

Tandem only makes insulin pumps. The company is based in San Diego, California, and their products are made locally. They partner with a best-of-breed CGM company, Dexcom. Their partnership pipeline seems to be most aligned with the technology trends I am interested in, such as phone apps, less finger pricks, looping, and significantly smaller devices.

I am excited about the flexible, powerful, intuitive capabilities of the Tandem T-Slim X2 and the Dexcom G5. I confirmed my decision in the Facebook group for the Slipstream camp. Here’s what I posted:

Based on what I heard from you guys and the pipeline information Adam shared, I think Tandem and Dexcom are right for me. I like that they are moving toward no fingerpricks and that they will have predictive low functionality next summer, and I like that they partner with Apple and that they provide free software updates to get new functionality.

Does anyone have any warnings or additional thoughts before I pull the trigger on Tandem and Dexcom? Committing for 4 years is a long time!

Here are some of the encouraging responses I received:

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I was warned that Tandem’s stock significantly dropped earlier this year. Because Tandem is smaller and uses local manufacturing, it’s tougher for them to compete financially. For example, their costs includes replacing expensive equipment if it breaks. I’m not concerned. They seem to be the better choice, now and going forward, so they’ll survive.

Of course, I haven’t tried these devices yet, but I expect to like them. I will let y’all know!

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