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Snapshot: Tandem Diabetes Care

Tandem Diabetes Care
Name: Kim Blickenstaff
Title: CEO
Company: Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc.
Location: San Diego, CA
Tandem Diabetes Care
Social Media: @TandemDiabetes
Year Founded: 2006
Number of Employees: 150
Description: Dedicated to advancing the management of diabetes, Tandem Diabetes Care, Inc. is a privately held company with novel diabetes technologies. The Company offers a comprehensive, user-centric and integrated approach to product design
Products or Pipeline, Phase: t:slim, t:connect (pending 510k approval)

What are some of the hurdles in developing effective new medical devices?

The greatest challenge to developing effective new medical devices used directly by consumers is to design something that meets the safety and efficacy requirements of a quality medical device as well as the style and ease-of-use requirements of a quality consumer device.  Medical therapy isn’t only about treating the condition. It’s also about building a solution that makes sense to the patient who uses it and to the healthcare provider who supports it.

What does your device do?

The t:slim® Insulin Pump is the first touch screen pump available to people with diabetes mellitus (age 12 and older).  The t:slim Pump was designed with the user experience as an important priority.  In fact, we conducted more than 4,000 interviews with patients and healthcare providers in the development of the pump. The result is a simple-to-learn and simple-to-use interface, and a slim, sleek design.  In spite of its small size, the t:slim Pump still has a 300u insulin capacity, as well as our proprietary Micro-Delivery Technology.  It is also the only rechargeable pump on the market.

How the management of diabetes changed in the past decade?  What have been the factors in this change?

Technology is changing the face of diabetes management. Many more people are turning to technology to treat their diabetes. But still, two-thirds of people with Type 1 rely on syringes because insulin pumps are perceived as too complicated or too intrusive.  We are finally seeing a trend to devices designed using human factors science with the end user’s experience in mind.  At Tandem, we think engaging with patients and healthcare providers to build devices that are easy to use is the answer to increasing adoption of technology that can improve care.

Where do you see diabetes management going in the future?

Diabetes technology must be easier to use, more intuitive, and more automated. We’re all striving for the artificial pancreas, but if the device is so complicated that patients can’t interact with it, what’s the point?  We want technology to be less intimidating, and to play a more useful role in people’s lives.

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