News | August 2020

Diabetes News of Note: Connected Pens


Medtronic recently announced that they acquired Companion Medical, manufacturer of the InPen. Our question is, how will patients and endocrinologists react?

We asked patients a few months ago about their interest in an integrated ‘smart MDI system’: a connected insulin pen, a CGM, and a smartphone app that display blood glucose levels and insulin history on one graph; delivers reminders to take insulin or eat a snack depending on current glucose and glucose trend; and tracks glucose, insulin-on-board, diet, medication, and exercise history.

The patients we asked were not currently using a CGM, but they were on MDI insulin therapy. Here’s what they said:

  • 28% of those with type 1 diabetes, and 19% of those with type 2 diabetes said they would ‘definitely’ get and use such a system if covered by their insurance and recommended by their HCP.
  • 36% of those with type 1 diabetes, and 35% of those with type 2 diabetes said they would be ‘likely’ to get and use it.
  • 36% of those with type 1 diabetes, and 46% of those with type 2 diabetes were negative about the concept.

When we compare this test against results of the 75+ concept tests we have done over the past few years, this result is positive, but not a home run. For these systems to deliver real benefits they’ll need to avoid overburdening patients with technical issues or complexity (we remember the tech support challenges of moving CGM data to smartphones). It’s obvious but worth repeating: simplicity and ease of use are critical. Especially as, at the same time, algorithm-based pump therapy is reducing patient workload and anxiety.

About the same time, we asked endocrinologists about their views on connected pens and connected pen caps:

  • 20% said they would definitely recommend one to their insulin patients
  • 64% would be likely to recommend
  • only 16% would not recommend

While this is clearly positive sentiment, we all know that success in diabetes hinges on what happens outside the doctor’s office, so patient focus remains the key. If you need to better understand the diabetes experience, or anything else that happens outside the doctor’s office, contact us at

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