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T:Slim Insulin Pump from Tandem Diabetes Wins MDEA Readers' Choice Award


Posted in Design Services by Reina V. Slutske on June 19, 2013

Apple-style design helped elevate the product above the competition in reader voting.


 The t:slim's Apple-inspired design helped secure it MDEA's Readers' Choice.

It looks like an Apple product, with an illuminated touchscreen and sleek design. Yet, Tandem Diabetes Care’s t:slim insulin pump is a device for managing diabetes. The device was honored with a bronze Medical Design Excellence Award (MDEA) by jurors, but it came out on top in MD+DI’s first readers’ choice poll.

In his notes from the MDEA jurors weekend, juror Edward Duckworth praised the device as “beautiful and functional,” with a smaller size than other insulin pumps, allowing it to be discreet. Duckworth, the director of cerebrovascular and skull base neurosurgery at Baylor Clinic (Houston), also said the t:slim was the most attractive device in the competitive diabetes market.

Although some MDEA jurors argued that the t:slim hadn’t really changed insulin delivery systems, people who own the system were passionate advocates on Twitter during the readers’ choice voting.

“I cannot say how happy I am with Tandem Diabetes Care’s product,” tweeted one Orange County, CA-based t:slim user with the Twitter handle Wyld_Celtica_Visitor.

The device measures 2 × 3.13 × 0.6 inches and weighs 3.95 oz, making it the smallest insulin pump available on the market. Its case is made of aluminum, and the device is watertight. Its touchscreen is made of shatter-resistant glass, and the design is streamlined, much like Apple devices.

Several features, such as a rechargeable battery and touchscreen, make the device unique among other diabetes products. The device has a micro-USB port, which can deliver data to clinicians if necessary. It also holds 300u of insulin, which the company says is the largest amount of insulin able to be held by any insulin pump.

According to Tandem’s MDEA submission, part of the company’s goal was to make sure the t:slim was easier and more straightforward to use than conventional insulin pumps. To accomplish that, the device uses a propriety pumping mechanism called Micro-Delivery Technology.

While most pumps deliver insulin by applying pressure from behind the full contents of a syringe, the t:slim draws small amounts of insulin from the reservoir into the microdelivery chamber and delivers them to the patient over time.

So far, the t:slim has received positive feedback in a good portion of its patient studies, which bodes well for Tandem in the market. In addition, it has a fervent fan base. No matter if it’s Apple or Apple-flavored, design and simplicity can take you far.

Reina V. Slutske is the assistant editor of MD+DI.


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