Are OmniPod pod alarms as random as everyone says?


#1

I have T1D; am getting a new pump and thinking about leaving my tubed medtronic pump. At first, I loved the idea of the Omnipod without tubes…then I read about alarms (or “screams”) on the pods.

I’m an attorney. I’m in hearings in court, I have to speak in front of groups regularly, and I have general everyday times where I absolutely can’t sit there with a screaming pod under my suit.

…it seems the pod could start screaming for any reason or no reason at all. If I’m in court, I’d have to stop whatever hearing is going on, find somewhere mildly private, take off my suit, take off the pod, put on a new pod, and then get back to the hearing. Well that type of nonsense cannot ever happen. Ever.

An atty telling a judge he/she has to stop a hearing or trial bc some ear piercing noise is going and you need to climb out of your clothes to pull the machine off and put on a new one is about a rude, disrespectful, and ridiculous as it gets.

It perplexes me how any professional uses a system like this. I’m sure it’s fine if you’re a kid who loves to swim or play sports, but this is as far from adult-friendly as I can imagine…and I was so excited about no tubes.

Am I missing anything? Or have I correctly assessed the situation? Thanks.


#2

I’m a criminal lawyer and used the pod for around 4 years. While it is not as often as some people make it out to be, pod errors do happen and it is annoying and embarassing. It will also start beeping all the time if you go past 3 days of wearing a pod while you are in the 8 hour window to change it. I had a judge ask me what was beeping when that happened once and I had to explain, which I would’ve preferred not to do. Honestly, while it is a miracle device for those who can’t stand tubes, I don’t miss the Omnipod. If you’re happy with your Medtronic pump I wouldn’t change just to go tubeless.

However, I should mention these incidents were few and far between and I once had an error on my Medtronic pump causing it to emit a high pitched alarm in court. I think any professional should use the OmniPod if they want to avoid tubes, it’s just important to be aware of its unique issues.


#3

I’m sorry but I don’t agree with this. It’s a necessary medical device and I think that is acceptable. I might be embarrassed by it but that’s my problem and wouldn’t want to discourage people from using the pod who want to.


#4

Fair enough, I see your point. And thanks for the perspective. I greatly appreciate it.

Perhaps I was being overly sensitive and angsty.


#5

This was something I was very worried about when I started on the Omnipod. I’ve had a few random “scream of death” incidents but not that many in the four years that I’ve been using it. Two incidents, maybe? Thankfully they were not when I was at work. Given your profession, I feel that you are right to be concerned about this. Note also that when you hit the 80 hour mark on the pod it deactivates with a scream. No way around it. So you’ll find yourself planning every 3rd day to accommodate pod changes. Not necessarily bad but something to be aware of.


#6

I’ve been using the Omnipod for 18 months now, and I have had just one pod alarm (the constant screech kind, not the intermittent “time to change your pod” kind). If you have your PDM with you, you can easily turn off the alarm. Your health will not be in danger if you can change your pod in an hour or even two or three.

You can easily avoid the “time to change your pod” reminders by scheduling a pod change before the reminders start. It’s no big deal. I tend to change mine in the morning, so I won’t hear reminders during the day. I am frequently in meetings and I have never had a pod beep during them. (Though it would be a welcome excuse to excuse myself from some of the more boring ones.)


#7

Well I definitely appreciate the responses, that does make it seem like less of an issue than it originally appeared. I just can’t imagine being in the middle of a critical phase of [fill in the blank], and having a continuous ear-piercing beep from a machine beneath my clothes go off…with no off button except to take it off (and my clothes since I’m likely going to be wearing a suit if it’s that critical) and stick a clip in it.

What about … instead of making the button-press require a paper clip, just put a temporary-off button or “snooze” button on the side of the pod and require three clicks in quick succession to effectuate a temporary-off. Then have the alarm begin again again in 15 mins until the pod is removed and a “permanent” off button is pressed with the paper clip on the back side. Allow it to be snoozed for 15 mins a total of three times and no more. After the third snooze and restart of the sound, the sound remains on until the permanent off button on the underside of the pod is pressed with a paper clip. …this solution seems so elementary to me, there must be something I’m missing.

This will achieve the same safety protection and alert the user that there is a problem. There is no reason to force the user to endure a continuous unstoppable and un-snoozable sound like that. Did the FDA require it? Or was it liability lawyers? lol.

And what kills me is the whole tubeless design is otherwise the best concept on the market. Just doesn’t make much sense to me. I hate to see such potential so unrealized.

Edit - I’ll prob stick with tube until OmniPod/Insulet can get this figured out, then go with them. I read something about a DASH pdm and integration with android devices. Hopefully that pans out.


#8

The reason they don’t have that is size and cost limitations. They are trying to make the pods as small and inexpensive as possible.

Sure, they could do all kinds of things if they made the pods bigger. They could put a bolus button on the side of the pod, so you wouldn’t even need the PDM. Or they could have a display screen on the pod. But all of these things would take up more skin real-estate and cost more.

Don’t all pumps have alarms? Medtronic has them too, so the pod alarms are not much different.

https://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/customer-support/alerts


#9

Oh I hear you on size, that would completely defeat the purpose.

As with medtronic alarms, yea the pump has alarms, but I can silence those alarms with the press of a button and the pump is easily reachable in my pocket or on a clip somewhere reachable. Moreover, the alarms are not continuous beeps but alarms that are somewhat more palatable than whats been described as a continuous ear piercing beep…of course, I say all this with zero personal experience on the OmniPod. So perhaps I am talking out of rear end.

To me, the difference is in how easily can the alarm be turned off. All pump systems absolutely must have alarms. But an alarm that can’t be muted is so unhelpful…at least to me.

…and a tubeless design is just so so so appealing to me.


#10

Having used both pumps the pod alarms are way, way worse. The Medtronic pump can be set to vibrate, so it never makes noise unless there is a catastrophic failure (which is very rare and happened to me once). I was never the type of person who could remember to change my pod at the same time every 3 days, and it isn’t always possible if you have a pod failure/bad site that needs to be changed in the middle of a day, so I constantly had to put up with that pod change beeping and hated it. I really love the concept of the OmniPod but think the execution could be a lot better. It’s probably the FDA requirements that make it frustrating though. It sounds like the new Medtronic pumps have terrible clunky interfaces in any event!


#11

I think that’s an extreme case, when the PDM for some reason can’t communicate with the pod. For all other alarms, continuous or intermittent, you just press “OK” on your PDM and it shuts up – “silence them with the press of a button,” as you said. Just like alarms on other pumps. Then you take appropriate action (usually change the pod) when you can.

It’s coming, but it won’t end pod alarms.

BTW, for the pod expiration alert, you can select when you want to hear it, anywhere from 24 hours to 1 hour beforehand, which reduces the chances of hearing it while you’re out and about in the world.

That’s why it comes with a reminder alert.:wink:


#12

I appreciate you explaining these differences, and yes you’re definitely correct that the extreme situations are what I’m talking about…which is a random complete pod failure before it’s insulin has been used up, and where the alarm is coming from the pod itself rather than the PDM. I think someone above said that happens very infrequently, which squares with what you’ve said. So perhaps the occurrences/problems that I’ve read about were overemphasized or misleading as to frequency of occurrence.

Nevertheless, the mere possibility of an unstoppable alarm going off (or stoppable only by pulling off my clothes, assuming I’m wearing a full suit, pulling off the pod, and sticking a paper clip in a hole) is just too much for me to accept.

Again, I love the tubeless design. And I am not asking for an end to alarms. I’m asking only for a more palatable alarm that can be disabled or at least snoozed when it is set off at an incredibly inopportune time. That’s all I’m asking for…more flexibility in dealing with the pod failure alarm.


#13

Actually, I just re-read what you said more closely. I appears your facts differ with what I’ve read elsewhere. I’m talking about the alarm that cannot be shut off except with a paper clip used on the underside of the pod. This is the alarm that causes people to put the pod in their freezer.

What you’ve said is that this alarm can be silenced with the PDM.

Well those are two wildly different things…if all alarms can be silenced with the PDM (i.e., maybe there was a recent update to the pods??) then all that I’m complaining about has gone away and there is no problem for me.

So now I’m asking, what is the truth ??


#14

No, I said the paper-clip alarm is an extreme case.

Note that’s “For all other alarms,” not “For all alarms.”

And yes, in that rare and extreme case you would need to remove the pod and use a paper clip or stuff it in the freezer or throw it down a sewer grate, but I don’t get the sense Omnipod users are living in fear that’s going to happen at any moment. At least I don’t. But I’m prepared if it happens. (My fear of the fire alarm going off in the middle of the night is about a zillion times greater.)


#15

oh okay, gotcha, it’s late in the date and my eyes are bleary lol :slight_smile:


#16

Any pod alarm can be turned off with the PDM, with the only exceptions being if there is a malfunction with the communication between PDM and pod (the RF communication goes bad on the pod), or the PDM batteries are dead. But I have never personally had either of these happen to me. These are not common issues.


#17

That situation would probably be as rare as the MiniMed pump failing outright.


#18

I once had a screaming howler pod failure in my brief O’pod career. My blood glucose was sky-high, I was short on sleep, and I had zero patience with such nonsense.

Looking back, I can see some humor in it. It reminded me of this Harry Potter scene.


#19

Thank you, @JimFuller, for this discussion. I’ll be choosing my next pump within the month and I’m tipping toward the OmniPod instead of the X2. The last four years I’ve been on a t:slim, no problems. But the tubeless part is seductive. You can’t hang around the conferences long before hearing of all the ways people put pods out of their misery. It’s nice to hear it’s more about the drama involved than the actual frequency that this occurs.


#20

Using the pod system since May 16 after using just about every other pump out there. I can honestly say, all my misconceptions about this were wrong. Totally. I love the system and am very happy, and hope I can always manage financially to get the pods. I warned the ladies in church, if you hear screaming weird sounds coming from my pump, and see me leaving the room you can tell everyone around you what happened. :-). For the record, you can use a paperclip trick to shut the thing off, and even the trainer was informative about that. The new system they just had approved will have different pods, but nothing alarm wise is changing.