FDA Approves Tandem t:slim G4, Bringing CGM to the Touchscreen Pump
Twitter summary: FDA approves Tandem's t:slim G4, integrated with Dexcom - shipping now!
Tandem has announced FDA approval of the t:slim G4, its touchscreen t:slim pump integrated with the Dexcom G4 transmitter. Patients can put in orders on Tandem’s website, and shipments have already begun.
The t:slim G4 is the same color touchscreen t:slim insulin pump that we first test drove back in 2012, but with the added ability to wirelessly receive CGM data directly from the Dexcom G4 Platinum transmitter. Like the Animas Vibe, Dexcom CGM data will now be right on the t:slim pump screen. Medtronic’s MiniMed 530G/Veo is the only other CGM- integrated pump available.
Additionally, kids can officially use this product! The t:slim G4 is approved for those 12 years and up, the youngest available for a sensor-integrated pump in the US – the Animas Vibe is approved for ages 18 years and older, and the MiniMed 530G is approved for ages 16 years and older.
As expected, Tandem will not offer an upgrade program for those currently using a t:slim pump to get on the t:slim G4, as it would be too expensive for a young business like Tandem to do that. Current Tandem users interested in moving to the t:slim G4 will need to wait until their four-year pump warranty is up, though it’s been our experience that sometimes patients asking earlier can get it. The one exception is a free exchange option to get the t:slim G4 for anyone who bought a t:slim between August 1 and October 2.
The t:slim G4 is not compatible with Dexcom’s new G5 Bluetooth-enabled transmitter (launching this month), meaning patients have to decide how they want to see their CGM data:
With G5, CGM data is sent straight to a smartphone app without a required receiver (iPhone first, though Android is coming in 2016). The G5 transmitter can pair with two devices, meaning data can be seen right on the phone, right on the optional receiver, or both. G5 will also bring a new colorful user interface, better data analysis, and the same Share remote monitoring capabilities.
With t:slim G4, CGM data is sent straight to the pump screen from the G4 transmitter. The major advantage is no need to carry around a phone or receiver to see CGM data. There is also great value in seeing insulin-on-board information next to the current CGM value, as we discussed in our Animas Vibe test drive. The disadvantages of t:slim G4 are no smartphone compatibility (e.g., no Share remote monitoring), and no Software 505 to improve the CGM accuracy (particularly on day one).
Fortunately, future t:slim pumps will integrate with the Dexcom G5 and G6 CGM systems, with the ultimate goal of creating an automated insulin delivery system. No timeline has been given on these future integrations, and we imagine they are more than a year away.
It’s great to see Tandem and Dexcom working to make CGM better and expanding the convenience of seeing CGM data. We’re seeing this trend more and more in diabetes technology, and in this case it should lower the perceived hassle of wearing CGM. We believe many can benefit from the technology but haven’t yet tried it – we hope that those who used it and dropped it will give it another shot!
User Interface Test Drive
The t:slim G4 has done a great job with the Dexcom CGM integration, using the same menu structure and color scheme from the G4 Platinum receiver. We especially like that the t:slim G4 shows the CGM information AND insulin-on-board right on the home screen, something the Animas Vibe and MiniMed 530G do not do (though the Vibe can do it with one button push).
The t:slim G4 provides a better user experience than the Animas Vibe or MiniMed 530G, which both have harder-to-read screens and higher hassle button-driven menus. Tandem has kept the ‘cool factor’ going with the t:slim G4 – a huge plus as patients increasingly compare their insulin pumps to their smartphones!
Tandem has updated its free t:simulator app, which allows for a hands-on demo of the new t:slim G4 user interface. The app is available on the Android and Apple app stores, and it’s impressive to see it already updated with the new t:slim G4 user interface. Upon downloading t:simulator, users can select among the t:slim, t:flex, and t:slim G4, allowing realistic use of the pump and menus on a smartphone/tablet just as it would feel like on the actual device.
Image from www.tandemdiabetes.com