Last posts in this series: mySentry Trial: Starting Up & mySentry Trial: Wearing the Sensor

mySentry

The mySentry device is a remote display station for the Metdronic Paradigm pumps.  Retail price is $3000, and I’m not sure whether people have had success getting their insurance to cover it or not.

I think it’s fair to say that the intended market for this is parents or caregivers who want to be better able to monitor blood sugars of a loved one.

This concept starts out as a really big deal for parents who’s child with diabetes sleeps in another room.  But it also proved to be a surprising convenience even for me, who sleeps only a torso away from my pump.

Initial Communication

6 feet

I had a lot of trouble getting reliable communication between the pump and mySentry.  I placed mySentry on a nightstand table next to my head.  Not even an arm length away, and maybe three feet away from my waistline where the pump was.

The first night I was plagued by communication problems.  mySentry couldn’t find the pump, and would display a message and sound an alert.

With all of the problems I had getting the pump and sensor to communicate it reinforced my perception that the overall communication of everything was under-powered.

Unable to find pump

The documentation says that if the pump is within six feet of mySentry the communication should work.  That was not my experience.

There is a component of the system called the “Outpost” which acts like an amplifier or repeater.  It plugs into an electrical outlet, collects the information from a pump that is within six feet, and zaps that info to the mySentry display.  According to the documentation, the mySentry and the Outpost can be up to fifty feet away or greater.

I plugged the Outpost in at the base of my nightstand table, but that didn’t resolve the communication issues.  I tried a few different locations, and eventually jerry-rigged an extension cord to give the Outpost a birds-eye view of me and my pump while I slept.

I spent a ridiculous amount of time on this little graphic.  Kim would be so proud of me.

 

Jerry-Rig

 

It seemed like flying from Minnesota to Iowa with a layover in New Mexico, but it solved the communication problems.  Unless I rolled over and was laying on the pump.

Now We’re Talking

Once I got most of the communication issues figured, I started to enjoy the convenience of having so much information available in the blink of an eye.  I could see my interstitial sugar, my pump battery level, insulin in the pump, when my next sensor calibration was, and how long I had left on the current sensor.

Information

 

It was a real surprise to me how much I valued seeing all of this in one glance, with visual representations and colors (I didn’t have to work to interpret numbers, etc.), and without having to pull my pump out and navigate through menu screens.

I liked this.

A lot.

Graph

 

Alarms, Alerts, Light

The alarms and alerts are plenty loud, even on the lowest volume setting.  When an alert or alarm went off, I still had to pull my pump out to acknowledge it.  I didn’t like that much, but can understand the safety concerns.  There have been days where I’ve pressed the snooze button on my alarm clock without knowing it.  Sleep is a powerful force.

The screen brightness can also be adjusted, but even on the lowest setting it felt pretty bright.  I’m a pretty easy sleeper, so it didn’t bother me much.  But if you are the sort that needs darkness to sleep, this might be an issue for you.

Overall?

It was a great convenience, as I mentioned above, to see all of that valuable information so quickly and easily.  In terms of blood sugar safety, it only works if I can tolerate wearing their sensor, which I couldn’t.  There is a lot of talk about their new sensor (Medtronic Enlite) being better and easier to wear, but it’s not available in the U.S. yet.  No current news about when we might see it here.  What’s that saying about the strength of a chain and its weakest link?

This experience did open my eyes to the value of having information available in multiple locations.   Thinking about my e-mail, contacts, and calendar, that information is available on whatever device I use.  It has me spoiled.   I want that same access in my diabetes devices.  I want them to talk and share information.

Would I Buy?

No.

But I’m not the target market for this device.  If my child had diabetes and wore a paradigm system with CGM, I would try really hard to make it happen.

Questions?

If you have any questions about my experience with mySentry, please don’t be shy.  Leave a comment, or contact me privately, and I’ll do my best to answer.

Next post in this series: mySentry Trial: CareLink Pro

Disclosure

I received all of the pump supplies, components, and training from Medtronic, free of charge.  I was not asked to write or say anything about my experience, I was not given any limits around anything I did write or say.  I did not receive any compensation other than the opportunity to try their products.

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6 Responses to mySentry Trial: The mySentry Unit

  1. Scott E says:

    Out if curiosity, have you found the communications any more stable when traveling (at least between the sensor and pump; I doubt you take the MySentry with you)? I wonder if there is some sort of electromagnetic interference (like a lamp dimmer or a CFL bulb) on your nightstand which could be compromising the ability of your multiple devices to talk to one another. Your experience sounds a bit peculiar. (Not that I’ve studied this device at all, but I am an electrical engineer who works in wireless communications)

    • Good questions, Scott. Unfortunately I have no idea.

      You’re right in that I didn’t take the mySentry with me when travelling. The communications between pump and sensor continued to be problematic for me pretty much the whole time I wore it, though I was able to adjust where I wore the pump, etc. to minimize the issues.

      In short, I have no idea, but anything is possible. Appreciate your thoughts on the matter, and the time you took to share them.

  2. Great review and that graphic is SO AWESOME, Scott! Nicely done. I’m on the same page as you: Yes, the mySentry is cool, but I wouldn’t buy. I didn’t find it any more useful than what I have, practically when asleep at night. But I certainly see the appeal for parents.

  3. TC says:

    Thanks Scott! We have our 10 year-old on the MM pump, so this system was tempting. However, we used MM sensors in the past and generally were unhappy with the connectivity (lost sensors) and painful insertion. We do have the Dexcom G4 and absolutely love it. I wish they had this type of product. However, we can pick up the G4 sensors in our bedroom approximately 20 feet from our son’s room. I’m worried that this may wear the sensor battery down prematurely since it doesn’t get recharged, so we place a baby monitor next to his receiver in his bedroom. I have memorized the alerts, so this works perfectly!

  4. Kate says:

    Just popped in to say, Merry Christmas!

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