Tandem Diabetes Care’s t:slim x2 pump Review
The t:slim x2 is one of the most advanced insulin pumps as it works via a touch screen. Developed by Tandem Diabetes Care from San Diego (USA), its basic purpose is to control and automatically adjust insulin dosing instead of the user, based on the current needs of the pump user. The pump has two operating systems/versions: Basal-IQ and Control-IQ. In this article, we will mainly discuss the Basal-IQ version, although we will also note a few important facts about Control-IQ.
The Tech & The Data: Some Facts
It is necessary to emphasize that this pump designed so that it can be remotely updated which means that once you buy it you do not have to buy a newer version of the pump every time a new function or feature comes out. We think that is truly one of the best features.
Advantages and Disadvantages
– Easy to use (with training, even for ‘technologically illiterate’ people), (FREE t:simulatorTMApp)
– No more fingersticks (While fingersticks are not required when using the t:slim x2 pump with Dexcom G6 CGM integration, if . If glucose alerts and CGM readings do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions
– No more (or very rarely) calibrations
– The system displays the glucose level in real time, but also data back several hours,
– Provides satisfactory protection against falling into hypoglycemia
– Through the available app here at t:connect web application – it provides the user with the ability to alert their healthcare provider
– Most alarms and notifications can be set to work in the background
– Tandem Diabetes Care is the only company that lets pump users remotely update their insulin pump software using the Tandem Device Updater
– The Basal-IQ system registers only low glucose levels (for both low and high glucose levels, the Control-IQ version was released in 2020, about which we provide some basic information at the end of the review)
– If the readings are incorrect or if the CGM sensor is defective – it affects the “behavior” of the Basal-IG system
-Although the pump itself has a very sleek, modern design, it also has several practical disadvantages (no ‘hook’ or ‘buckle’ to easily attach to a belt or undergarments; the tube system can often get stuck on various objects, which can be both dangerous and painful)
– Along with the pump itself, you must also buy Dexcom CGM supplies – which can be expensive (pricing is discussed below in our section for Affordability)
Use and Support
Regarding USING the t:slim x2 insulin pump, Tandem provides excellent patient support. However, users will need time to transition to using this new device while they create new habits (such as getting used to more freedom), which means the pump must be programmed according to the user’s personal preferences, conditions, and daily activities. Once the pump is adequately programmed, life with diabetes becomes much, much easier to manage.
(For more information on training, check out the t:2 slim x2 online training modules.)
Using Basal-IQ significantly reduces the possibility of falling into hypo, which has caused a high level of satisfaction, confidence and usability from the users. By using Basal-IQ you can sleep better and manage diabetes better. When diabetics exercise or have any high level of activity Basal-IQ offers the ability to prevent hypoglycemic episodes 30 minutes in advance.
Of course, perfection is impossible, so the t:slim x2 is not perfect and should be used with a dose of wisdom: that is, you should still be careful, because for example the CGM sensor can give false low readings due to a number of reasons, which you can check out at Dexcom G6 FAQ’s. Also, if you have high blood sugar levels, you must manually enter the CGM sensor glucose values into the pump before you give yourself correction boluses.
Likewise, if you want to eat something (and your sugars are low and Basal-IQ has insulin OFF) – you cannot add the insulin dose for the carbs you are about to eat. Here is the future task for pump developers: it would be great if they programmed the option/the possibility of adding a little insulin to prevent a wide swing in glucose.
Affordability is a challenge with every insulin pump, including this one. However, the good news is that with private insurance or United Healthcare (UHC) it is possible to cover about 80% of the costs. Also, be sure to check the discount programs offered by the manufacturer. On July 1, 2020, UHC announced they will begin covering the Tandem t:slim x2 insulin pump for members on Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, individual and group market plans. This is a departure from UHC’s four-year policy to only provide health insurance coverage for Medtronic insulin pumps.
Actual dollar coverage amount will vary from plan to plan, but the decision to provide coverage for more insulin pump options is a major step for people who require insulin to survive and prefer an insulin pump, which is shown to significantly improve quality of life, as an insulin delivery system.
You can check with your insurance company the details of the cost coverage, which are roughly as follows:
– the pump (without insurance) costs about $4000 USD
– an infusion set and insulin cartridges cost between $70 and $400, depending on personal needs & insurance
– Dexcom G6 CGM supplies (i.e. 10 day sensors and 90 day transmitters) cost is estimated at around $500 per month. (Please note that with good insurance it is possible to cover 80% of these costs)
NEWER & ADVANCED CONTROL-IQ SYSTEM
As we announced in the introduction, we will briefly mention that t:slim x2 now has a newer and more advanced system: Control-IQ, which adjusts insulin delivery for both low and high glucose levels. The t:slim x2 Basal-IQ pump system cannot be updated to the more advanced Control-IQ software, and then (if for some reason is not acceptable to us) revert to the older version (ie Basal-IQ). When and if glucose levels continue to rise, Control-IQ will continue to pump insulin. Control-IQ technology gradually increases basal insulin with increasing CGM values and administers 60% correction boluses once an hour as needed to help prevent hyperglycemia.
You can see the review of Control-IQ here.
In conclusion, give modern technology a chance and learn how Basal-IQ and Control-IQ work to make your life with diabetes much, much easier – a real miracle feeling of freedom!
Type One Talks has some tips for you, make sure to check out his video!