Unacceptable OmniPod "Patient Support"

I have loved my time on the OmniPod. I think it’s a fantastic system, and nothing would make me want to go back to a tubed pump.

However, as of this evening, my PDM will no longer take my blood sugar and registered an “Error 4.” This means that there is a problem with the glucometer portion of the PDM.

So I called “patient support,” and I spoke with “Dawn,” who informed me that Insulet would be unable to ship me a replacement PDM until Monday, and that the shipment would take “5 business days.” I informed Dawn that this was unacceptable, and I asked her to ship it overnight. She told me that “policy” did not allow that. I asked to speak with a manager, but no one other than another customer service person was available. I asked to speak to that person.

That person was “John” (I think), and he told me that Insulet policy did not permit overnight shipment of replacement PDMs. I remained calm, but I informed John that this was an unacceptable policy and my previous insulin pump company (Medtronic) always rushed replacement equipment to me at ridiculously fast speed at virtually any cost. “John” informed me that there was “restructuring” and other “concerns” that prevented Insulet from doing this. “John” and “Dawn” informed me that I would have to call patient support back on Monday to speak to a manager and request overnight shipment of a replacement PDM.

So I love the OmniPod. I love being tubeless. I love the functionality of the OmniPod PDM. But this kind of “patient support” is just unacceptable. I am appalled that a company would treat its customers this badly. I’m supposed to deal with a malfunctioning PDM for a week? COME ON!

Find out who your area rep is…or even if a “temp” PDM could be supplied by your endo. Your area rep should be able to give you a loaner.

I agree. Not just Medtronic, but Animas, Accu-Check, and Cozmo are good about overnighting replacements, too. Insulet needs to change that.

Is the PDM usable for other features and it just won’t take your blood sugar? If so, I can understand (though I disagree with) the wait. At least you would still be able to initiate a new pod and enter your blood sugar manually.

Good pickup MelissaBL…you’d think that since they would be little more considerate regardless.

I can still bolus, and I can still probably initiate a new pod. Fortunately, I have plenty of backup equipment to get me through this.

The simple fact is that my PDM has unquestionably malfunctioned, and Insulet’s attitude is “you can wait a week, kid – we’re too cheap to overnight a replacement PDM to you because your PDM is only partially malfunctioning.” Totally ridiculous and completely out of line with what all of the other insulin pump companies do.

I want to see this company succeed, and this is not reflective of a success strategy on the critical patient support front.

And not to get too nuts about this, but imagine this scenario.

Insulet is already on notice of the fact that a patient has a malfunctioning PDM, but Insulet tells that patient to deal with it for a week, apparently because Insulet is too cheap to overnight a replacement PDM to that patient. Imagine the PDM malfunctions further, and the patient has to be hospitalized or worse. This would be a product liability attorney’s dream – imagine Insulet trying to defend itself by explaining to a jury that for the mere cost of overnight shipping to replace a knowingly defective PDM, Insulet could have prevented a patient from going into DKA or worse. They would be totally (and rightfully) screwed.

This has got to be one of the most bone-headed policies I have ever experienced.

No, I completely agree. Minimed once replaced a 508 model pump for me just because the backlight stopped working. A known malfunction is a liability and a company should act on it.

Abbott has replaced three Navigator receivers for me in the past year over issues I didn’t even find critical. Granted, they wouldn’t overnight those, but CGMS systems aren’t life support systems the way our insulin pumps are.

Part of the fact that they are not rushing the replacement pdm is probably because of the fact they should have provided you with a freestyle flash meter seperate from the pdm. Ar least I know I got one a few weeks ago with mine. If the pump wasnt functioning to deliver insulin at all thats another story and they probably would overnight it.

We have always received replacement PDMs via overnight even when it was just a meter malfunction. This is clearly a change in policy.

When my PDM malfunctioned, they sent a new one overnight. This must be a new – and DUMB – policy. I agree with the advice to get in touch with your area rep.

During the first nine months that I had the OmniPod, I always received great service. Then, while on vacation in Arizona (a long way from Wisconsin!), I had two pods malfunction in a row. I had just one left for the trip and if all went well I’d just barely make it home.

I called Insulet to report the problem – and was told that they could not send out any pods next day air to me. I pointed out that this was in stark contrast to what the Insulet rep had told me when I started on the system – that she’d make the four-hour drive to my house if something happened and I needed a pod right away. They would not back down and did not send me pods next day air. I received the pods a few days after I got home.

This was my first bad experience with OmniPod. It happened in February. I was the first person north of Milwaukee to get the OmniPod and it feels like now that they have more customers they won’t be offering the same level of service. Not fair to ANY customer but especially insensitive to those of us who took a chance on them early on.


You would think that a competitive company dealing with health care products would be all over the customer service thing. I agree with everyone…overnight me whatever I need if the situation calls for it. I would say to check with your endo’s office as someone earlier suggested, my CDE told me she’d loan me one in a case like yours, but they’re probably not around on the weekend either. The suggestion of calling the rep would be my next step. Good luck. Let us know what happens when you call on Monday. You might want to alert your endo’s office about your dissatisfaction with Insulet customer service. I’m sure they don’t want the docs leary.

Agreed, Elaine. Insulet should be very concerned about better customer service vis-a-vis the competition, especially when the competition has set a much higher standard. I do not expect medical technology to be perfect (I have had plenty of Medtronic pumps fail me over 20 years), but I do expect excellent customer service to back that technology up.

Case in point. Like Melissa, I once had a backlight fail on a MiniMed pump. Considering my first several years of pump therapy involved more primitive pumps without a backlight, there’s a good argument that the backlight is merely a luxury feature. Yet MiniMed shipped a replacement pump to me for delivery at 8:30 AM the next morning when I called them, no questions asked. In contrast, my PDM has a more substantial malfunction than a backlight – the glucometer is broken, and who knows whether the malfunction will spread to other features? Yet Insulet is telling me to sit tight for a week.

This is not good. I told the customer service reps to have an all-powerful manager with access to the mystical FedEx Overnight powers to call me first thing Monday. Trust me, I will follow up Monday morning regardless. I will post whatever happens here on the board.

I agree about the point that you lose confidence in the whole device when one thing is wrong. Even though the meter is not necessarily critical assuming you have a backup, my concern when this happened to us was the integrity of the other functionality of the device. I suppose the meter functionality is independent of the pump functionality, but it still made me worry.
I just can’t imagine the cost differential is that significant bt overnight and other methods, particularly when compared to the cost of customer loyalty. I myself have seen less than stellar CS and expressed quite clearly to them that should a competitor hit the market with a “patch” pump, I would strongly consider it bc of my dissatisfaction with their service. I consider myself an OmniPod advocate and appreciate the flexibility it provides us. Further, it is seldom that I need to contact CS, so I suppose that says something. But when I do, I brace myself for disappointment. It has detracted from my overall satisfaction with the product.

My opinion on patient support for Omnipod…well I hate it. I once called to changed my address of where the pods get shipped. Well first of all the lady was distracted the entire time she was on the phone with me and then she DIDN’T even send it to the right address. It’s like really? How hard must it actually be… And that was just the FIRST of many issues I had with their support…I’m nnever really happy with it. I def miss Deltec when it came around to that cause even if it was my fault they would ship everything to me overnight (or drive it since I live in MN and was only about 2 hours away from them)

I guess I’ve never actually had my PDM fail. I’ve had it malfunction a little bit but it always seems to be one of those restart the entire pdm with the button in the back problems and it works again. I know when I had a crack in the screen they didn’t overnight it either. Who knows…sometimes i wonder…

So a lot of people seem justifiably disappointed by OmniPod patient support. Let’s keep posting our problems until Insulet improves – maybe we will just have to shame Insulet into improving its unacceptable and embarrassing customer support for its otherwise revolutionary and great product.

I think the critical difference is that they made money off of your lost PDM by selling you a new one. In my case, they need to replace my PDM at their expense.

I guess I’m going to be the lone voice of disagreement here. I don’t see the urgency to overnight, on a weekend, replace a PDM that is otherwise functioning normally just because the meter has failed (by the way, the exact same failure happened to me with my first-generation PDM). As someone else already said, they know you have a backup Freestyle meter (in fact, that is the reason they include the backup meter in the first place, so I’m told) and there is really no reason this particular problem should affect your treatment at all.
Jaybear, you know I’m very supportive around here and I’m not trying to be confrontational, but… I find your reaction to be a bit over the top. “Unacceptable” is a strong word and, in my opinion, should be reserved for situations where it is truly causing a patient harm. I agree it is an inconvenience, but the outrage in your reaction does not seem, in my opinion, to be on par with the level of inconvenience. I guess one might say “take a deep breath” and see what happens Monday.

As I said, this exact same situation happened to me and they were very particular to ask me several times if there were any other problems. The replacement PDM arrived in about 3 days (they ship Priority Mail and when it says 3-5 business days that almost always means closer to 3 for me, personally).

Also, I don’t know the cost difference (but I’m sure it is huge seeing as this is a weekend and weekend shipping service is generally very expensive), but in these economic times I’d be willing to bet their previous generous policies about this kind of thing are part of the bottom-line squeeze that ALL companies are having to go through in order to stay afloat.

I am very surprised. In my own personal experience with omnipod they have been more than great! I had a replacement overnighted about 5 months ago of the pdm, that’s why this really surprises me.


The standard of care in this industry (that is, if we look at insulin pump companies other than Insulet) is to ship a replacement overnight when the equipment malfunctions. During my 20 years of Medtronic / MiniMed pump therapy, maybe I became a spoiled brat. They would bend over backwards to get a replacement pump to me overnight, even if it was for something like a trivial backlight failure.

All people are different, but I don’t like having to depend upon malfunctioning medical equipment for a week just because Insulet feels like it doesn’t have to adhere to the standard of care in this industry. And since Insulet doesn’t care to adhere to that standard, I find their customer support “unacceptable.”

Perhaps there’s a reason the other pumps cost ten times the price of the PDM, and at least one manufacturer has recently exited ungracefully from the industry. Perhaps it is because of business practices that are not sustainable at a reasonable cost. Personally, I prefer Insulet to make sensible decisions that will allow them to control costs and thus remain in business. Yes, that involves compromise, which is perfectly acceptable to me as long as my treatment is not being compromised. The way I see it this situation is really causing no harm or compromise in treatment, and it’s not like they are refusing to replace the PDM; nether is it during normal business hours.

Hey, I’m all for the customer letting a vendor know when we feel we’re not being treated appropriately, but at the same time, in life you have to pick your battles and I just don’t see this as being one that is worthy of picking. If the PDM were failing in other ways and they took the same stance, I’d have a different opinion, but…
I say pick your battles; next time you have a problem with a pod and you call to ask for a replacement, and they happily send the replacement…

Anyway, which battles to take on is a choice we each have to make; I just wanted to offer a different perspective because we all need this company to survive and thrive in order to maintain our treatment of choice.