For those considering the Tandem Tslim pump, I highly recommend playing with the t:simulator app (iOS or Android) which is a completely realistic mock up of what it is like to interact and use a touch screen insulin pump. It was very helpful to me to experience what it is like to operate a pump by touch tapping only and to assess whether I can accept the extra tapping and confirmation screens that the pump is known for. Per a recent update to its software, the Tslim is now able to accomplish a manual bolus within 10 steps (if count inputting bolus amount as 1 tap same as I count scrolling on a hard button pump as 1 press). 10 steps isn’t great but not too bad. The pump does take a ridiculous 20 taps to Combo/Extend bolus. Ouch!
The t:simulator demonstrates that tapping on touch screen has a fluidness to it that makes a tap not quite as bad as a hard button press which makes me feel more tolerant of the Tslim’s excessive tapping. The triple tap to unlock the pump doesn’t seem as onerous as I expected.
I count steps to set a temp bolus at 13 taps which isn’t as good as the competition (@10 presses) but not bad. The View Units screen option when setting a temp basal is a very nice surprise. It takes some of the work out of calculating your desired temp basal by displaying the basal rates during the duration you specify (and it will show you the effect of your programmed temp basal which is a very handy double-check). This is one of those handy features that a touch screen design makes possible. You just tap a button to view and make your calculations then return back to the temp basal input screen. Nice! Something I would definitely use for Super Bolus and Super Corrections. I really dislike how the pump automatically goes to its lock screen after bolusing or setting temp basal which necessitates another triple tap to unlock the pump during the process of setting a SB/SC.
The bottom-line is the t:simulator enables me to really compare this whole new way of operating a pump by touch screen and overall I give it a thumbs up. Per reports from users, the pump offers a usable amount of @265u of insulin after priming vs a 5xx medtronic of @156u after priming, so the Tslim gives a much larger insulin capacity in a pump that is approximately 18% smaller than the 5xx. The Tslim’s unique insulin delivery technology that allows a larger insulin capacity does require a priming process that is reported to be longer and more pain-staking than the competition but this seems a worthwhile trade-off. My least fav feature is the automatic lock screen after bolusing or setting a temp basal. I don’t see that ever changing as it is a safety issue probably mandated by the FDA (I think it should just lock after the usual screen time-out). A few changes that do seem realistic would be for the View Units screen to total up the basal rates during the specified duration of the temp basal. This would take one more piece of calculation off my mind when setting a temp basal (even better, Tandem could develop an industry-first SB/SC feature that automatically calculates the temp basal offset!). I would also like to see the temp basal duration and % split default to the last inputted amounts same as how Roche does it (instead, they always default to 2hr duration and 50% split).
The Tslim seems a very nice option and Tandem appears very open to improving the user experience unlike (ahem) some of the competition. Just recently they allowed their pumps to be updated via a download. Hopefully there is more to come. Thank you Tandem for creating a pump worthy of the 21st century.