Comparing Insulin Pumps
When you are comparing insulin pumps, it is important to ask certain questions concerning the basic features of the device. You should also find out how to operate the pump and what costs are associated with using it. Your healthcare provider or diabetes educator is a good source for comparing and choosing insulin pumps.
Trying to compare insulin pumps and decide which one is best for you can be an overwhelming task. Fortunately, it is not one you have to do by yourself. Your healthcare provider will help you pick an insulin pump that will work well for your individual situation. Diabetes educators are often especially useful in such situations.
Although you will not have to choose an insulin pump on your own, it is a good idea to have a basic idea of what is available and what questions to ask. A few important questions include:
- Questions about basic features, such as:
- Does it use a special kind of battery?
- How large and how heavy is the pump?
- Will it take any kind of infusion set or is a certain kind required?
- What different alarms does the pump have to protect me?
- Does the display have backlighting for use in the dark?
- Does it provide a memory function?
- Does the pump have a safety feature to prevent me or someone else from accidentally or intentionally changing the insulin dose?
- Does it have a feature to help me calculate bolus doses based on blood sugar readings and food intake?
- Does the pump connect to the body using traditional tubing? Or, like some new pumps, does it connect directly to the skin, eliminating the tubing?
- Does it have a remote control feature (using another device to control the pump)? If so, can I program the pump without the remote?
- How waterproof is the pump?
- Questions about operating the pump, such as:
- How long does the battery last?
- How easy is the pump to program?
- How many different basal rates or patterns can I program into the pump?
- What is the smallest bolus dose that can be delivered?
- Is the display easy to read?
- How easy is it to download the memory information to a computer?
- Can the pump communicate wirelessly with the blood glucose monitor? Can it work with a real-time continuous blood glucose monitoring system?
- How much insulin can the pump hold? How easy is it to fill the cartridges or reservoir?
- Does the pump make any noise while in use?
- Do people have any complaints about this pump?
- What do people like about this pump?
- Questions about the manufacturer or financial matters, such as:
- How much does the pump cost?
- How much do the infusion sets cost?
- Does the pump come with a warranty?
- How good is the manufacturer's customer assistance?
- Will the pump and the supplies be covered by my insurance? What will my copays be?