We're hosting a Live Interview this Friday, February 8th, with Lane Desborough on the TuDiabetes homepage.
Lane is Product Strategist for the Diabetes business unit of Medtronic. He spent the first 25 years of his career as a control engineer making oil refineries and chemical plants run more safely and efficiently, and helping the world’s energy situation. Then his son, Hayden, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and Lane was propelled into a new career. He is now applying his expertise in closed loop systems, human factors, and systems engineering to the development of an artificial pancreas – a job he takes very seriously (and very personally).
What would you like to ask him?! Here are a few applicable questions to get your wheels turning:
Please post your questions below by end-of-business on February 7th.
How much real world imput is sought during the design process for your (Medtronic) products. I have seen in my business many things designed by engineers (software engineers especially) that make lots of sense to engineers but not so much to the average person.
What will it take for the med tech industry to develop and adhere to communications standards (similar to what the telecom industry has) so that all the various medical devices can "speak" to each other, and so that they can easily share their data.
For example, each week I manually email my BG log to my MD. She gets it as a stand alone file. I'd really like to upload my raw data and have it go into a database so that my medical records are complete and can be analyzed properly.
LOL---I'm an old lady and not quite a Luddite, but all I want is increased accuracy, a larger screen that is easier for old eyes to read and a larger keypad that is easier for arthritic fingers to use. Plus: after I threw my meter (which I call The Leech) against a wall and broke my ancient, beloved 5" long lancet device, the only replacement I could get was some stunted little 3.5-incher that my arthritic thumb can't manage. So I duct-taped the old one!...
Littler is not always better. And it is certainly not always easier. I don't care about designer colors and tininess. I want big and easy to read and easy to use and as accurate as possible. I am waaay past caring about concealment. Much more interested in Diabetic Testing as Performance Art to create a window for Education!....
Oh and I hope to never, ever have to install an "app" in my life! I have age old ways of keeping records that work for me. Don't need apps. My cell phone mostly lives in a drawer....
Judith you make a very good point about usability for people with limited mobility.
I wonder how difficult it is for med tech companies to get multiple versions of essentially the same device through the approval process.
We all know that insulin pumps have wizards built in to assist in proper meal and correction bolus calculations. Yet there are millions of patients who don't have pumps. These patients could also be greatly helped by applications or devices which simply helped with these calculations, perhaps containing nutrition resources. Unfortunately in the US, these applications are considered medical devices and require FDA approval. This has kept small company innovators from bring these products to market. Has Medtronic considered making simple applications or devices that support calculations of meal and correction boluses?
I am a diabetic of 55 years. I remember when BD went public to raise the money to develop disposable syringes and needles. I tried pumps and determined they were not for me. They are simply a tool which if used correctly work for the patient. When will an implantable pump/sensor be available?
Medtech companies all talk a good game about seeking user input to design their devices. I'm sure they do to a certain extent but I've witnessed many design features that seemed uniformed by a user's experience.
To make matters worse, once a design goes through the FDA approval process, the ultimate users (the real experts) have exactly zero chance to change existing design. This makes their experience even more important during design development.
Please describe in as much detail as possible how actual users influence the ultimate design of a Medtronic diabetes product. How many users are actually incorporated into the project? Do users review and respond in a meaningful way to the design changes made by engineering? What percentage of the project's budget is allocated to user study and input? Is user input growing or shrinking at Medtronic, as measured by budget allocations?
I admire your personal story and connection to diabetes. Please understand that some of us have been frustrated by companies like Medtronic that produce useful products for diabetics but don't seem to fully understand how their products fit into our everyday lives. Thank you for participating in this event.
Question from member Elizabeth: I am curious to know what the testing protocol for the artificial pancreas was/is. How is patient safety ensured during testing? And how do/will your experiences with testing, which I presume was done in adults, translate to testing in children, whose insulin needs vary much more than adults day to day, week to week, and year to year?
Question by Nyadach: I've been reading about Medtronic's closed loop research with Dr Hovorka from the University of Cambridge, and the use of stochastic modelling in helping to get tighter control with quiet a large improvements (22% correct?). But the research mentions that the system seems to be increasing hypos. The system in the research papers seems to be using a single chamber pump, while we are already seeing coming to market dual chamber pumps now which seems curious.
Is there a reason Medtronic for the single chamber route? either just not using dual chambers in this for research as you are doing it elsewhere? or is it more due to being some kind of issue with going the dual chamber route and adding glucose to the second chamber?
Question from member Patricia: What do you think is the time frame for medtronic to actually get an artifical pancreas through FDA and to the average everyday diabetic?
So for a 14 year old, how many years until he can directly benefit in regards to using it 24/7?
Has Medtronic improved the sensor to alert low blood sugar? I had one but the alarms were constantly going off for no reason. It was not user friendly. The insertion devise had to be at just the right angle.
Its awesome having a professional working for medtronic that has first hand experience with type 1 in the family. How do you decide which areas need development? There are so many aspects and not one size fits all. Is it supply and demand and the majority rules? Would it be possible down the track to custom make pumps to suit individual needs.
I would love to see a system that does away with injections or at least reduce the changing of cannulas to longer intervals ..monthly ..or more. Cant wait for more info on the artificial pancreas system!