Monday, 26 October 2015

Kaleido - Insulin pump patch

My demo Kaleido pump (minus the infusion set) - see more on my instagram
Disclaimer: I was asked to meet 2 of the Kaleido team to view their new insulin patch pump. I have not been paid or asked to write this blog. I was bought a diet coke during the meeting though – I was thirsty. I am not currently using a Kaleido insulin patch pump. These pumps are not currently being used by people with diabetes to deliver insulin (I'm told).... (Cont)

I did however receive a cool demo pump which doesn’t deliver insulin. If you’d like to know more about my thoughts then please read on. If you have any questions about the product then please contact the Kaleido team who will be able to help you. I'm a sucker for being distracted by bright shiny objects so I'm bound to have forgotten to ask some questions!

I eagerly eyed up the bright pink and turquoise boxes that had been placed in front of me, feeling excited as I knew what was inside. “Open the pink one first” Alex (one of the Kaleido team said). As I picked up the box I asked if there was anything inside it… It felt so light it could have been completely empty. As I opened it up I didn’t see just one insulin pump but 10! I couldn’t believe how light 10 insulin pumps were! “They’re so small” I exclaimed, genuinely surprised at the size. “Can I touch them?” I asked, not realising that I had already jumped straight in and was pulling out a beautiful metallic pink pump. “It’s incredibly light” I said to Alex and Amy who had come from the Netherlands to show me the new Kaleido insulin patch pumps. I quickly pulled my current pump (Accu-chek Spirit Combo) out of my pocket to compare sizes. There was a huge difference in size, being that my current pump was much bigger (see pic below). I imagined how heavy the Kaleido would feel with insulin inside it and I imagine it wouldn’t be much heavier. The width, height, length and finish of the Kaleido pumps were all very impressive. I could imagine myself wearing one of these I thought to myself. I’m a sucker for anything bright and colourful and this pump lived up to Kaleido’s tagline “let’s inject some colour”.

I was incredibly lucky to have been the first patient in the UK to have a look and feel session with these new insulin patch pumps. When I was told that I prayed that my clumsy self wouldn’t mess it up and accidently break or set fire one of them! You’ll all be pleased to know that I got through the meeting damage free! I first heard about these insulin pumps in September when Kaleido launched the product at EASD. I quickly had a look on the website and was very impressed with what I saw and read. The aim (from what I could see) was to provide a simple insulin pump that is easy to use whilst still providing people with what they need to control their diabetes.

Now I will admit to being sucked in by the beautiful rainbow website and shiny shells of the pumps, however I also wanted to find out about the ‘stuff’ the pumps could do. There’s much more to technology than just looking good! At the meeting the guys had bought all of the necessary bits n bobs that go with the pump – infusion sets, cannulas, needles for drawing up insulin, sticky pads to keep the pump in place etc, and also the handset that works with the pump. The handset was also very easy on the eye – an impressive looking bit of kit which looks very similar to a smart phone. It too was lightweight and sleek looking and has a number of options in the menu including:

  • Basal - basal profile (x7), temp basal, create basal, change basal, modify basal
  • Bolus - quick bolus, extended bolus (and soon to be added bolus calculator) 
  • BG - there is an option manually enter BG reading in line with your testing
  • Settings - including personal info, button lock, medical message, volume etc
  • Status - stop and pause pumping

Blood glucose wise the meter is not a BG meter. I asked why and the guys said this is because patients they spoke to had their own favourite meters and they didn’t want to force anyone to use a certain type. Also, some test strips are hard to come by in certain areas and they wanted to make sure people could use a meter that will have strips available.  I guess that’s up to individuals to decide whether or not they like that idea.

Now, one of the key features that stood out for me what that although this was a patch pump (the pump itself sticks to your body), it could be moved around the body without having to completely replace the pump or change the cannula. Let me explain that a bit better… The current (and main) patch pump on the market does not have tubing attached, this means that if you wanted to move it to a different position on the body you would need to take the whole thing off and start again. Kaleido does have an infusion set (tubing and cannula) which enables the user to move the pump around without having to start a new one. Basically, the way they have done this is by having a small piece of velcro attached to the back of the pump, this is attached to an adhesive which you stick on your arm, abdomen or leg (I tried it and it's very sticky). If you want to move the pump from say your arm to your bra or pocket then all you need to do is peel it away from the velcro and move it! This very simple aspect of the design really impressed me (I’m often impressed with simple solutions!). In the past I’ve been put off using a patch pump purely due to not having the freedom to move the pump around as and when I want to.

Here are some other pieces of info that I took away from my Q&A session with the team:

  • It holds 200 units of insulin
  • The pump itself is very durable – It’s been hit with a hammer and even shot with a gun!
  • The pumps and handset need to be charged on average every 3 days
  • Recommended change time for the cannulas is every 3 days
  • There is currently no cannula inserter
  • The handset “talks” to the insulin pump via Bluetooh
  • The charge time for the pump and meter is about 1.5 hours
  • The starter kit includes 2 insulin pumps (2 different colours), 1 handset and a load of infusion sets, sticky stickers to stick the pump to yourself and needles etc for drawing up insulin
  • Kaleido are looking into having an option of using steel cannulas but at the moment a normal cannula is used
  • When charging your pump the team recommend you switch over to the other pump that you have been given in order to not miss any insulin during the charging period
  • The pump is waterproof up to 1 metre
  • Data download that Kaledio are looking at using is the Diasend system (for now)
  • It currently is not compatible with CGM (continuous glucose monitoring)
  • The pump is charged via a dock which can be plugged into a USB port of a normal plug socket
  • The handset will soon have a ‘bolus wizard’ in order to calculate your insulin:carb ratio
  • The tubing comes in different lengths (5cm and 30cm)
  • You can see your current basal profile on the handset in a graph form rather than just numbers/units per hour (I like this!)
  • Temporary basal rates from 10-200% (increase or decrease) can be set
  • Customer service wise the team hope to have a 24 hour phone line and email support (but do get in touch with them if you have any more Qs on this) and if a pump or handset needs replacing they hope to be able to do this within 4 hours
  • If you took the Kaleido off there is a pause option which means the handset will tell you how much insulin you've missed when you go back to using it
  • If you require more than 200 units of insulin you just need to refill the pump

My experience of using insulin pumps only lies with the Accu-chek combo (2.5 years) and the Medtronic 640G (which I trialled for 8 weeks). As pump users know, every pump has different features and benefits and everyone wants something different from their portable pancreas. Although this pump isn’t all singing all dancing and jiggling around with bells on it, I like the simplicity and I think it could potentially be a great 1st pump! As I said to the team yesterday, sometimes when people try to do too much they don’t always get it right and the whole product can suffer as a result. If a few key features are concentrated on and done really well then you can have a great end product.

Giving my honest opinion on this product I am impressed but I wouldn’t give a final judgement until I had tried it for at least a few weeks with insulin. In terms of features and benefits it has everything that I currently use with on Combo pump, however this aesthetics of this pump and handset definitely appeal to me much more. As mentioned in the disclaimer, the Kaleido pumps have not been trailed with insulin yet with people (though the pump itself has been tested with insulin), and when I asked about this I was told by the team that pilot studies will hopefully be commencing in January next year. They plan to launch in the UK after trials have been completed. When it comes down to it, an insulin pump can look amazing and appeal to a large group of people but ultimately it needs to be able to help us manage our diabetes well. With regards to insulin delivery options, functionality of the pump etc it seems promising; also the cost, I’ve been told, is much lower than the current pumps on the market.

The Kaleido pumps are something I will be keeping an eye on and I look forward to hearing about developments! It certainly does appeal to me and I will be watching with interest to see what the future holds for Kaleido. If I haven’t answered any of your questions then do please get in touch with the guys at Kelido who are really friendly and will be able to help you more. I only had an hour with them and they know a hell of a lot more that I do about the product :) 

Twitter - @HeyKaleido #letsinjectsomecolour 

Ninjabetic x 

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