Taking his first steps

Taking his first steps

It’s been a long time coming but today Tyler is taking his first steps per a press release;

“Medtronic plc (NYSE: MDT), the global leader in medical technology, today announced the launch of InPen™ integrated with real-time1 Guardian Connect™ CGM data. InPen is the first and only FDA-cleared smart2 insulin pen on the market for people on multiple daily injections (MDI). This integrated system now provides real-time glucose readings alongside insulin dose information giving users everything they need to manage their diabetes in one view. Rather than switching between apps, users have the ability to see all their information in real-time, in one view — making it easier to make smarter dosing decisions to manage their sugar levels.”

Now before the folk at Medtronic and Companion start doing a happy dance let’s point out some obvious issues they must deal with none of which by the way have to do whether patients want or need a Tyler (more on that in minute);

1. Without an accurate and reliable CGM Tyler doesn’t walk and folks so far Medtronic hasn’t proven they can make an accurate and reliable sensor and we know they can’t make one that doesn’t require finger stick calibrations.

2. The InPen and its way cool whiz bang app worked with the Dexcom CGM, which is accurate and reliable, before Medtronic bought Companion so while this might be Tyler’s first steps he was already crawling.

3. Nothing is mentioned in the release about whether the InPen app now has the Medtronic insulin dosing algorithm. This is a critical point as one thing Medtronic does know from their long history in insulin pumps is how to develop a bolus calculator. Yes there are differences between continuous delivery of insulin and multiple daily injections (MDI) but this why they employ smart people.

The way the release is written Medtronic is trying to position this systems as a time saving tool for patients making their lives easier by having all this information in one place. While that may be true we see this as a mistake as believe or not MDI patients care about outcomes and if Tyler works as designed they will achieve better outcomes and save time.

We mention this as MDI patients have been using their own version of Tyler for some time. In effect they constructed their own system using multiple apps. Many didn’t need a connected insulin device using either a nonconnected pen or old-fashioned syringe. See what most people don’t understand the benefit of Tyler isn’t way cool whiz bang its better outcomes without much effort. This is what MDI, heck this what every patient wants. They want their diabetes management to be less work less of a hassle.

Now Medtronic has an opportunity to make this happen as one hassle patients have is buying their connected pen from one place, their sensor from another and their insulin yet another. As we noted it’s just a matter of time before Medtronic is in the insulin business. Which means someone using the InPen system would not have to worry about reordering sensors or refilling their insulin prescription as Tyler could do this for them.

So let’s call this news what it really is a baby step and not full-blown walking. Frankly it’s up to Medtronic whether Tyler walks, runs or falls down. For the moment and it’s only a moment they have the only Tyler on the market. Sources tells us that Bigfoot is nearing approval for their way cool whiz bang cap cover, Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi all have various Tyler efforts underway and let’s not forget the many connected pen cap cover companies who will happily partner with anyone else who wants to have a Tyler.

We hate to be redundant, but the hardware really doesn’t matter the critical components are an accurate reliable CGM which is approved to work with automated insulin dosing systems and an insulin dosing algorithm. Gee Dexcom has both of those things and Abbott doesn’t which makes one wonder but let’s not digress today.

As we noted the other day thanks to social media insulin using patients are seeing from other real patients what’s possible. They are seeing the results from patients using CGM or hybrid closed loop systems and saying, “hey I want that too.” This is why Tyler stands a great chance not because it’s way cool or whiz bang it’s because patients want him, he fills an unmet need in their lives. It is not a solution looking for a problem to solve but a valuable tool that makes managing diabetes less of a hassle.