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Cary Talbot Talks Future Product Development and Customer Feedback

By Karrie Hawbaker

Public Relations Manager

Posted:  5/1/2014 3:00 PM

Tags:

Director of Marketing for the Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) business, Cary Talbot, leads an entire team focused on planning the development of future CGM systems. His team focuses on understanding our customers, their perspective on current products, and what they need to better manage diabetes. Cary shares insights into how customer feedback gets incorporated in the CGM product development cycle through his Marketing team’s activities.

How are people with diabetes involved in the product development process?
Well, my team in marketing has two responsibilities - understanding and identifying our customer’s wants and needs, and communicating those needs to our research and development (R&D) teams so they can incorporate features that meet those needs into the development of new products. We first look to people with diabetes to identify and prioritize product needs by obtaining feedback through social media, surveys, phone calls, and emails, and observing and interviewing customers to better identify their daily diabetes management requirements. We then compile and prioritize the feedback (according to the customer), and determine how well our current products meet these needs. Finally, we identify which features are missing, or should be improved, partner with our engineers to start defining the next generation process.

How do you choose which features will address the biggest customer need?
It’s a collaborative process between Marketing and R&D. Our engineering team is constantly exploring new technologies and visualizing better ways of doing things. When Marketing completes their research, we begin a series of discussions with R&D to educate them on the customer’s needs, and then map their latest technology to those needs to create new features. The best solutions come when we are working closely together, and we often come up with more than one idea to meet a customer’s need. Once these ideas are compiled, a team of cross functional experts assesses the challenges of implementing the ideas. Finally, the value of each feature is weighed against our ability to meet the customer needs by considering its design requirements and manufacturing needs.

How do you find the individuals with diabetes to participate in these focus groups? Are there ways interested community members can get involved in the process?
Sometimes we approach a healthcare provider’s office, hire an outside agency to independently identify customers, or utilize our social media channels. We recently ran a Facebook post asking people in the diabetes online community if they were interested in participating in market research about their diabetes and diabetes devices. If they opt-in, they are added to our internal database, which is what we utilize most frequently. Our internal database consists of customers and other individuals who have diabetes, but are not on our product, who have given us permission to contact them. During the product ordering process, customers are asked whether they’d like to opt-in to receiving email communications from Medtronic. If they answer yes, they are automatically included in our database, and receive a welcome email.

Customers can always choose to opt-in by calling our Helpline and asking to update their communication preferences. Individuals who are not on our products, but would like to participate, can sign up here. We are always looking to build our database with a variety of different backgrounds and circumstances, so I encourage anyone who is interested to opt-in or sign-up.

Was the development of the MiniMed 530G with Enlite included in this process?
Oh yeah, this process was absolutely used in the development of the new system. From the CGM perspective, during the early development stages, we gathered customer CGM system needs, and quickly saw a commonality around improved comfort and ease of use. For example, a prevalent need we gathered from customers was minimizing insertion anxiety. To address this, you’ll notice the Enlite serter has a much softer shape, is a much quieter insertion and completely hides the needle from view.

What’s another exciting project your team is working on that utilizes customer feedback/needs?
We currently have a team working to understand customer needs around alerts and alarms for our CGM systems. Currently, customers receive alerts based on algorithms within the pump, but we are taking a step back and analyzing why customers may have initially wanted that alert, and if they can really do anything with that alert information. It leads us to create smarter alerts, and hopefully reduce the burden on customers by only getting their attention when it’s needed.

I never knew this was part of the product development cycle. What else do you think customers should know about the product development processes at Medtronic Diabetes?
Medtronic is made up of people that choose to work here because they can help make a difference in other’s lives. Our mission is to help people that have diabetes live a full life, without being reminded that they have diabetes. In the past, we’ve focused on the first part of that – helping live a full life by delivering technologies that improve clinical outcomes. Now, we are starting to incorporate more of the customer’s voice in our product development, and are equally focused on delivering last part – without being reminded they have diabetes.

Do other departments in Medtronic Diabetes use the customer feedback that you’ve collected?
There are many teams that utilize the information we collect. One less obvious example is our technical publications team, who write the product user guides. Understanding the customer need that drove certain features enhancements or developments helps them write instructions in a way so that the customer is able to understand the features functionality and purpose.

Our clinical team and engineers also utilize the customer feedback for conference presentations and educational sessions to help describe the reasoning behind product improvements. It really helps the doctors and nurses in the audience understand why we chose those enhancements, and what the changes mean for their patients.

Important Safety Information
Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems. MiniMed 530G with Enlite is intended for the delivery of insulin and continuous glucose monitoring for the management of diabetes mellitus by persons 16 years of age or older who require insulin.

Pump therapy is not recommended for people who are unwilling or unable to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day. Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to making adjustments to diabetes therapy. MiniMed 530G with Enlite is not intended to be used directly for preventing or treating hypoglycemia but to suspend insulin delivery when the user is unable to respond to the Threshold Suspend alarm and take measures to prevent or treat hypoglycemia themselves.

Please visit www.medtronicdiabetes.com/importantsafetyinformation for more details.

Comments

cindy campaniello

Posted on Fri May 02 14:33:00 GMT 2014

Great article. Would live to have pump and CGM...Type 2 though and heard it may be tough to get one. Any thoughts on how we can get one easily. Frustrated that type 2's suffer from same complications and daily struggles of highs and lows. Why are type 1's lives valued more than ours?

Joel

Posted on Fri May 02 15:56:40 GMT 2014

Hi Cindy. Insulin pumps are for people with diabetes who require insulin. In addition to many customers with type 1 diabetes, we also have customers who have type 2 diabetes. I will connect you with a member of my team to discuss your options, but I also suggest speaking with your healthcare team to determine if an insulin pump and/or CGM is right for you. In the meantime, you may find this blog from one of our customers, Tony, with type 2 diabetes interesting: http://www.loop-blog.com/blog/Managing-Type-2-Diabetes-with-Insulin-Pump-Therapy, or this video from another one of customers, Theresa, with type 2 diabetes interesting: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtzMgMJ3lTY&feature=relmfu.

Daryl Tabor

Posted on Fri May 02 16:20:14 GMT 2014

What progress are you having getting CMS to stop procrastinating about taking CGM off of the "experimental technology list"? What can the entire pumping community do in a coordinated effort along with Medtronic (and to be fair, other companies who may have well tested CGM technology) to push CMS to approve CGM this year? In my opinion, there are enough of us who would greatly benefit from CGM but because the cost of being diabetic makes the $300 per month for the sensors a pipe dream.

Wayne

Posted on Fri May 02 16:50:42 GMT 2014

Our daughter is type 1 as well and we would like to get her a CGM but our endo team told us we need to speak with our insurance carrier and said it's a lot harder to get a CGM. Our daughter could greatly benefit because she isn't sensing her high blood sugars anymore.

Darin

Posted on Fri May 02 16:52:30 GMT 2014

I am type 2 and on a pump, it took some arguing with the insurance company to finally approve it but they came through. My Endo really want me to be on CGM because I am a bad diabetic. Insurance is standing their ground on this one. Wish insurance companies did not have so much control over our health care.

Lisa Cordero

Posted on Fri May 02 18:05:34 GMT 2014

My daughter is a Division 1 Swimmer at Oakland University. We really wanted her to use the CMG while swimming in order to keep her numbers tighter. Swimming different sets at different times 5 hours a day, along with weight lifting, running, biking and elliptical make for numbers all over the place. She HATED the insertion set, which I see was addressed already. I have to say the size of the CMG is huge when it comes to swimming, and its lack of stickiness is also a huge issue for her. Water and sweat daily were not conducive to it sticking more than one day at a time. Which ran into the problem of inserting daily, which wasn't going to happen. Yes, she is 19yrs old. The CGM is cumbersome to say the least for an athlete, especially a swimmer. She was getting the site infected if she attempted to keep it on longer than a day. Any ways that can you can come up with to address these two areas would be great. She is more than willing to wear it, if these things can be improved. Even faster swims weren't enough to convince her to try. Hoping for better results from you guys. Keep us posted!
Thank you
Lisa Cordero

Ruth Broitman

Posted on Fri May 02 18:14:12 GMT 2014

The active insulin number on both screens where it appears needs to be larger for those of us who need reading glasses. I have said this many times but don't see an improvement coming.

Joe Robinson

Posted on Fri May 02 20:13:21 GMT 2014

I'm a Medtronic man. Used your pump for 15 years, your strips and meters, your pacemaker ! But keeping an eye on a tubeless pump. Some nice features!!!

Mark

Posted on Sat May 03 07:14:23 GMT 2014

Can you share any details on any efforts being taken to improve the range issues with the Enlite sensor in combination with the 530G? Reading through various T1D blogs, it is obvious that there are issues being experienced by a lot of customers, myself included, about the constant lost sensor and weak signal alarms. The only solution that tech support can give is to move the pump closer to the sensor, and don't move while sleeping. Not real solutions. I switched from another CGM system (with a range of meters between the transmitter and receiver and not the inches required by the Enlite system) because of the integration with a pump. If the CGM can't stay connected to the pump, then the integrated system is meaningless. I really hope that Medtronic will admit the issue and undertake steps to resolve it.

Wayne Dantuma

Posted on Sat May 03 11:14:09 GMT 2014

Medtronic still has one very serious problem.
The range sensor is TERRIBLE! The claim is that the range is 6 feet... That is only true if there is nothing in the way.
I have consistently lost signal or got the weak signal alert when..
I have the pump on the opposite side of my abdomen from the transmitter.
I'm in bed and the pump is on the opposite side of my body from the transmitter. I wake up to the lost sensor alert, reset it, then get the alarm that I have to test my blood sugar just after I fall asleep again.
I asked my Doc about this range problem and he said it had been corrected in this new model.... not true..

Joel

Posted on Mon May 05 18:15:00 GMT 2014

Hi Wayne. I will have someone from my team reach out to you to discuss your daughter’s insurance coverage options with you. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

Lisa, I am sorry to hear that your daughter is having trouble with the sensor sticking while performing sporting activities. The new Enlite sensor includes advances in comfort and accuracy, which could improve your daughter’s experience. To help with site irritation, we recommend rotating insertion and sensor sites each time she changes her infusion set or glucose sensor. Different climates, skin lotions/creams, trapped moisture, or different clothing may affect your daughters tape adhesion, or the way her body reacts to it. If you send me your daughters contact information at loopblog@medtronic.com, I will have someone from my team contact your daughter to try and help her out. In the meantime, she may find this information helpful:

Enlite sensor: http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/treatment-and-products/enlite-sensor
Site rotation: http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/customer-support/insertion-site-management/site-rotation
Taping methods: http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/customer-support/insertion-site-management/taping-methods

Ruth, thank you for your feedback. I will be sure to pass it along to our team. Please know that we do listen and appreciate your feedback, and will continue to take your suggestions to implement more changes in the future.

Joe, thank you for putting your trust in us for all these years!

Joel

Posted on Tue May 06 18:19:28 GMT 2014

That’s a great question, Daryl! Medtronic is actively working with various groups including professional and patient societies, Government Affairs, and industry partners to address the lack of coverage and payment for CGM technology. Our goal is to ensure consistent access for anyone with diabetes who can benefit from Insulin pump and/or CGM therapy, as well as continue to develop more advanced diabetes management technology. It’s great you’re interested in assisting these efforts, and we will keep the community updated as opportunities come along. We also suggest that you talk with your health care team, so they can advocate for CGM coverage on your behalf.

Mark and Wayne, I am sorry to hear you are frustrated with the sensor range. I will have someone from my team contact the both of you to try and help. In the meantime, and if you haven’t already, try moving the insulin pump/CGM closer to the transmitter, or move the transmitter and the insulin pump/CGM to the same side of your body. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help with.

Scott E

Posted on Tue May 13 01:47:15 GMT 2014

What Cary does for a living is precisely my "dream job". He is a lucky man.

And the rest of us are lucky to have someone like him bridging the gap between user-requests/feedback and the product developers.

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