Insulin pump maker Insulet launches educational tablet app for kids, plans connected app

By Jonah Comstock
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Insulet, maker of the OmniPod insulin pump, has launched a new tablet app aimed at children. The app, called Toby's T1D Tale, is essentially a virtual story book intended for teaching young children with Type 1 diabetes about diabetes and how to manage it. 

“We’ve worked closely with several providers, including a pediatric psychologist, caregivers and our clinical team to deliver a credible resource that resonates with and provides our growing Podder community with the most useful information to manage their diabetes,” Shacey Petrovic, President of Insulet Diabetes Products, said in a statement “Together with our recent debut of the new Omnipod mobile Patient App, as well as our new branding and presence on social media, this introduction of Toby’s T1D Tale is yet another step in our journey to engage, inform and empower the diabetes community through innovative mobile connectivity.”

The app tells the story of OmniPod mascot Toby the Turtle from his diagnosis of diabetes through his doctor visits and treatment. The content is interactive: after each chapter are actionable tips and trivia questions. 

Insulet added mobile functionality through a partnership with Glooko in June 2015. Then, last May, the company added a patient app of its own that contains training videos, tips, and an easy connection to Insulet for support questions.

Unlike Type 2 diabetes, which often develops later in life, Type 1 diabetes, once called "juvenile diabetes" is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. 

In March, Insulet hired Aiman Abdel-Malek, who previously worked on mobile healthcare at Qualcomm, as Senior Vice President of Advanced Technology and Engineering, to help create a mobile strategy for the company.  On a recent conference call, Insulet CEO Patrick Sullivan shared that the company is working on a future generation of the patient app that would include Bluetooth connectivity from the pump to a user's smartphone and sould pave the way for an artificial pancreas.

"Later this year, we plan to submit a 510(k) for a separate mobile app and Bluetooth-enabled PDM [personal diabetes manager]," he said. "This app will act as a secondary display for key PDM data on a customer's mobile phone. Information such as a user's insulin-on-board, current basal profile and blood glucose readings will be at our customers' fingertips. This PDM mobile app will also provide integration of OmniPod data with Dexcom G5 data on a customer's mobile phone. This development project is on track and we plan on a submission by the end of this year."