PharmaShots Interview: Medtronic's Julie Foster Shares Insight on InPen Integrated with Guardian Connect CGM
In a recent interview with PharmaShots, Julie Foster, Vice President, Global Customer Experience of the Diabetes business at Medtronic, shares information about recent and upcoming announcements for the company.
- The integration of real-time CGM data into the smart insulin pen app follows the acquisition of Companion Medical's InPen to the Medtronic portfolio, as of Sept'2020
- The integrated system provides real-time glucose readings alongside insulin dose information giving users everything they need to manage their diabetes through a single smartphone app
- InPen is the first and only FDA-cleared smart2 insulin pen on the market for people on MDI. The InPen app will continue to display information from other compatible CGM systems on a three-hour delay
Tuba: Medtronic has been taking some big steps to grow its diabetes portfolio with the purchase of Klue, Nutrino, and Companion Medical. What new capabilities does this give the company?
Julie: We are working to close the loop for MDI patients. By combining smartpen with smart CGM technologies, we aim to deliver proactive dosing advice personalized to each individual. We acquired Nutrino and Klue to enable the future of diabetes therapy through artificial intelligence: Nutrino helps us improve our predictive analytic capabilities around mealtimes, and with the identification of what's being consumed with greater accuracy. Klue's gesture technology helps identify when that food is being consumed. Our goal is to combine AI technology and our extensive CareLink database of real-life data to develop technologies that we can leverage across all of our insulin delivery platforms both pen and pump.
Tuba: Medtronic recently announced the launch of InPen integrated with real-time Guardian Connect CGM data. Can you explain the benefits of this integrated system?
Julie: Every person's journey with diabetes is different, and we want to provide options for each individual that meet their needs. An example is this integrated system, which now provides real-time glucose readings alongside insulin dose information, giving users everything they need to manage their diabetes in one view as a complete picture, rather than switching between apps to understand their in-the-moment dosing needs. We want to help make life easier for people living with diabetes, and by building on the success of InPen with added real-time glucose data, we hope we've done just that.
Tuba: Can you share some details about Medtronic's newest insulin pump system; the MiniMed 770G hybrid closed loop system? How is it different?
Julie: The MiniMed 770G system builds on the successful MiniMed 670G systems as it adds smartphone connectivity and an expanded age indication to children as young as two. Having a young child diagnosed with diabetes can be scary for parents, so we hope the use of this system will provide some peace of mind by enabling them to monitor their child's sugars and pump details at any time on their phone.
Tuba: What is Medtronic's philosophy for working together with customers? What role does customer feedback play in innovation?
Julie: Our customer experience philosophy boils down to, Diabetes Takes No Breaks. Neither Do We. Always By Your Side. Those living with type 1 diabetes never get to take a break from managing the disease it is an around-the-clock job, so learning from patient experiences is the most critical way to drive our future products. For example, listening to the struggles parents face when their young child is diagnosed with type 1 helped us in the development and launch of the MiniMed 770G. Based on continual feedback from our customers, we are deeply committed to continue advancing services and solutions for those working with Medtronic have the best experience possible.
Tuba: Medtronic recently launched a CGM Access Discount program. Can you tell us more about the program, and how it differs or compliments the proposed updates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to expand CGM coverage?
Julie: We are very encouraged by CMS's proposed rule and commend the agency on taking action to help more people with diabetes. The proposal puts patients first and empowers them to choose what best meets their diabetes management needs. While the proposed CMS rule is under review, Medtronic is offering a CGM Access Discount program, which allows users without insurance coverage, or those who switched insurance and lost coverage, to access a discounted out-of-pocket cost for a Medtronic CGM. More information about that program can be found here.
Tuba: For diabetics, the dream of one day having a fully automated artificial pancreas is becoming more real with new technologies. How close do you think we are to this achievement?
Julie: From the discovery of insulin, now almost at its centennial, to the evolution of insulin pumps beginning the 1960s, to advancements currently in development, the history of diabetes management is an amazing one. We were the first to put an automated insulin delivery system on the market, but we know we have much work to do and are committed to continual improvement and advancement of the technology, services, and solutions we offer.
I can't predict the future, yet one thing I can say with great confidence is that we will work tirelessly toward a world in which people with diabetes can live more freely without needing to think about managing their disease all the time. It is deeply aligned with our mission and our inspiration.
About Julie Foster:
Julie Foster is the Vice President, Global Customer Experience of the Diabetes business at Medtronic. Foster has been at Medtronic for over 30 years across multiple businesses, therapeutic areas, and regions, and holds degrees from the University of St. Thomas and the University of San Diego.
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