After months of waiting, I finally received the world’s first hybrid closed loop system, the Minimed 670G system. Medtronic’s Minimed 670G system is an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor that also has technology to put you in “auto” mode where it will automatically adjust your basal insulin every 5 minutes based on your blood sugar levels.
I’ve had the system for about two weeks now so I thought I’d share my thoughts on it. I’m going to break this down into two posts because I feel the auto mode review needs it’s own page.
I’ve been with Medtronic and on an insulin pump since 1997, 20 years! For most of the 20 years, the insulin pump has looked the exact same. It has “mainly” had the same features and not a lot of technology advancements.
This new pump, however, is completely different than anything Medtronic has released in the last 20 years, with one caveat that they did release the Minimed 630G a few months prior. I received the Minimed 630G as part of the Minimed 670G Priority Access Group. In case you weren’t aware, Medtronic released a new pump, the 630G, last year and a few weeks (or months, not positive on the timing), the FDA approved their 670G pump faster than they realized. To not waste all the millions of dollars they probably spent on the 630G, they started a Priority Access Group for the 670G where you had to get the 630G first and then once the 670G was released, you could be the first to get it.
The stars aligned for me where my pump went out of warranty last year and I had reached my out of pocket max because of the birth of my baby, so I was able to get the 630G for free! I never did use the 630G though because the new design of the pump sort of scared me and I was happy with my old pump.
Because I never used the 630G, the 670G and all it’s design and features were brand new to me. I found the pump to be comparable in size to my old pumps, maybe slightly bigger but not enough to bother me. The pump now has color on its screen! Besides the color screen, there are a lot of other features that I like:
- Active insulin is front and center on the screen. No more hunting for it or coming up with some trick to see it.
- The bolus wizard screen is very descriptive and informative and I find it to be much nicer than the Minimed 530G bolus wizard screen
- The belt clip is probably my FAVORITE thing! The belt clip opens up the battery cap. I’m not sure why it took 20+ years to come up with this invention but it is seriously the best thing. To open the battery caps on all of my old pumps, I would have to search for a coin or use scissors or some other Macgyver move. The ease with which the belt clip opens the battery cap is amazing. I probably sound crazy for being so excited about something but this was one frustration that I didn’t need on top of all the other diabetes frustrations.
- Programming basal rates is much easier on the 670G than on the 530G. On the 530G, you had to go through a bunch of different screens to set up your basal rates and if you made a mistake, you had to start all over. On the 670G, you enter it all on one screen and it’s easy to make changes.
- The sensor has improved a lot. I actually liked the Enlite sensor and found it to be very accurate. However, I do know that a lot of people didn’t have much luck with the Enlite sensor. The only negative I found with it was that it was difficult to insert and you had to be very careful not to accidentally touch it the wrong way. If the plastic needle inside bent at all, the sensor would be inaccurate. With the new sensor, the Guardian, I have found the accuracy to be just as good, if not better than the Enlite. The Guardian sensor is also a lot easier to insert with a one button push (I think the one step inserter was available with the Enlite but I only ever used the two-step inserter).
- Overnight, I have found my pump doesn’t have to be right beside the sensor to work. With the Enlite sensor, I found if I didn’t sleep just right with my pump, it would lose connection. I haven’t found that to be the case with the new Guardian sensor which is nice.
While I LOVE some aspects of the new pump, including how sleek it is and the colors, I’m actually surprised by how many negatives I found with the new pump:
- There are a TON of buttons to push to get your desired outcome. I know they did this as a safety feature, but for me it’s just more of a hassle. My fingers were actually sore the first few days using the new pump. An example, is when it is time to fill a reservoir, there are a ton of added questions to fill it.
- There are a lot of screens and a lot of information but it’s almost information overload. I’ve been using the pump for a few weeks and I still don’t know how to get to some of the information quickly. For instance, on the 530G, to fill a reservoir or cannula there was a separate menu from the main menu. On the 670G, the reservoir menu is buried under the “Options” screen, which always takes me a minute to remember
- Speaking of the Reservoir screen, the 530G had a reservoir and cannula fill history which I LOVED. I am not one of those people that changes the reservoir and infusion set at the same time. Sometimes I want a shower where I am not wearing any diabetes things, infusion set or sensor, and those showers only align when it’s time to change both my sensor and infusion set. I couldn’t imagine how often the stars would align when all three would need to be changed, sensor, infusion set and reservoir. Sometimes life happens too and my baby might knock my infusion set out or it might to be working too great thanks to all of my scar tissue. Whatever the reason, I like the flexibility of being able to change it when it’s needed, not when my reservoir has run out. However, on the new 670G, there is NO fill history for the cannula. There is a history for the reservoir but if you don’t change them at the same time you are out of luck. I am guessing Medtronic really wants you to change them at the same time but in 20 years of pumping, I’ve never done it that way. This is probably one of the biggest features I think the new pump is missing. I am not good at remembering when I changed my infusion set last. Some days I am good and change it at the three day mark. Other times, life gets in the way and it might be 6 days before I change it. But I always liked having that screen easily accessible to see when I had done it last. The only way to see when I changed it last is to go into each day’s history. If I changed it six days ago but I don’t remember, that means I’m scrolling through a lot of data to find it. You can also see it by downloading your data to Carelink to see it. Neither option is very convenient, especially when I was spoiled on the 530G.
- Having to use the Carelink app to see my cannula history ties in perfectly with my new gripe. The Carelink website is NOT Mac friendly. I’ve been using Carelink for years so this shouldn’t be a new thing but it is. With the 530G, I could upload my data using the Minimed Connect app. To view the reports, I didn’t need the latest Java. I would upload my data through the Connect app then view it on the website. The 670G does not link to the Connect app so I can’t use it to upload my data. I have to go to Carelink’s website and upload via my meter. The problem is that the Carelink website is NOT Mac friendly so it took me about 3 hours the first time to upload. I eventually had to connect via VM Ware to get it to work-such a pain.
- Because the 670G doesn’t work with the Minimed Connect app, I can no longer see my data on my phone and my loved ones no longer get alerts when I’m low. I’m not sure what parents of kids with Type 1 do, but this seems like it could be a huge negative. Personally, I don’t mind not sharing my data because I’m pretty autonomous but I do really miss being able to view the data on my phone.
- Another frustration with the Carelink website is that a lot of reports that were available with the 530G are no longer available with the 670G. However, there are a few new reports only for the 670G but I LOVE the Daily detail report so I am sad that I can’t use that report with the new pump.
- The ONLY meter that connects to the 670G is the Contour Next Link 2.4 meter. With the 530G, I believe the Contour Next Link was also the only one that connected but with the next pump, the old Contour Next Link’s don’t connect, only the Contour Next Link 2.4. My frustration with this is over the years, I have accumulated 3 Contour Next Link meters, one for my bedroom, one for the kitchen and one for the car. Now, I only have one meter that connects so I have to carry it everywhere with me. It isn’t a huge deal but it is a little frustrating that both meters can’t connect.
- The training was a waste of time for me. Medtronic sends a LOT of documentation with the new system. I wasn’t scheduled for training for two weeks and was so excited about the new pump that I read all the documentation and I was ready to go. However, I’m a rule follower so I waited until my training session to get set up. During the training session, she just went through what I had already read to set my pump up and that was it. I think Medtronic should offer the training but not make people feel like they can’t get set up on their own if they want to.
- During the training, I also asked about “easy bolus”, something that I use way too often on the 530G. If you aren’t familiar, on the 530G there is an up button which will bolus 0.5 units at a time of insulin. It has a specific ring with each 0.5. I often used this so I didn’t have to look at my pump, I could just listen and hit the buttons to bolus. There is an option for easy bolus on the 670G but when I asked the trainer she said it wasn’t available which was false. I get that they aren’t wanting to encourage it, but it’s nice to know it’s an option.
- Because I can’t use the easy bolus, I only use the bolus wizard, which theoretically helps the pump learn me. The first week when I started on the 670G, I was low ALL THE TIME. I’m relating this to using the bolus wizard instead of the easy bolus but it’s so odd that I noticed so many lows after starting the new pump.
- I mentioned above how I love that the belt clip also serves to open the battery cap. While I LOVE the belt clip, one HUGE flaw with the pump is the fact that the screen’s orientation is different. To look at my pump, I have to take it out every single time to view it. On the 530G, I could look at my screen besides it was horizontal and with the way the belt clip was positioned, I could read it fine. With the 670G, it’s almost like the belt clip is upside down. I can’t read my screen or do anything without disconnecting it from my pants.
- The final complaint I have is that the pump seems to take a while to process an action. In today’s advanced technology world, a slight delay can be frustrating. It’s not a huge negative but something that I noticed when I first started using. Hopefully, I will get used to the slower speed and it won’t be a big deal.
Overall, I like the new pump but it definitely has some areas it’s lacking in. It was such a big change from my old pump but I’m liking the new advancements for the most part. I really hate not being able to see when I did my last cannula fill but I love the colors on the screen. I hate all the extra steps I have to take for an action but love how some things are easier like seeing the active insulin or setting up basal rates.