Six Years of Waiting | #OmniPod®

Caleb with his first Pod.
Caleb with his first Pod.

It was at this time of year six years ago when David attended an informational session for the OmniPod system, just a few weeks before Caleb started pumping. At that session – six years ago – the sales rep spoke about a new, smaller Pod that would be available “soon”.

Six. Years. Ago.

This past December, Insulet announced that FDA approval had been obtained for these new Pods. Wahoo! They were careful to set expectations clearly – they are not available yet, but distribution would begin at the end of February and when it’s time to reorder, you’ll get the new system. I thought that was great – be upfront with your customers and don’t over-promise.

It’s the end of March and there is no sign of us getting the new system. When we ask Insulet representatives, there is no clear response and we get some mumbo-jumbo about needing to set up training for the new system.

It’s been over three months since the announcement. When Insulet made the announcement, they stated they had planned for this transition for over a year. We’ve waited patiently since December. We are ready to reorder, which we were told was the basis for the transition and would be seamless. But we are now told we can only have the older generation Pods, and there is no clear expectation of when Caleb can begin using the new system.

Six years, Insulet. Does that count for nothing? We have been loyal and supportive. We don’t expect a red carpet, but we don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect you to acknowledge your long-standing customers in some way. We’ve stood by you for six years. We haven’t complained. But now, I have to be honest, I’m irked.

I see new customers with their new systems. They have been loyal to other pump companies, even critical of OmniPod in some cases, but they are getting priority. This isn’t sitting well with me.

I get the business end of this – I do. But part of good business is setting reasonable expectations for your customers. In my mind, Insulet has over-promised and under-delivered.

We will remain loyal, Insulet. We believe in your product. I can’t say I don’t feel a little taken advantage of by being put at the end of the line after all this time, perhaps because you know we are so loyal.

It’s been six years.

Looking back over the years and some of Caleb’s activity with OmniPod:

39 Replies to “Six Years of Waiting | #OmniPod®”

  1. Amen, Lorraine! Thgis is exactly how I feel, only for me, I would add pissed. I am beyond pissed about it all. Three years loyal for us and I can’t even get a straight answer from our OmniPod rep or Insulet when I call about when we might possible, maybe, some time, get the new Pods and system. It’s frustrating and I think poor planning on their part.
    Great post, thanks for writing.

    1. Hopefully a timeline can be defined soon. I agree that is the most frustrating part – is having no clear understanding of what to expect, and thus being able to plan in an informed manner. That’s really all I’m looking for – clearer expectations.

  2. What you just said, except Audrey has only been on the pod 2 years. That would be irritating waiting six years after being told they were close. Maybe we should automatically start saying liar when we hear soon or 5-10 years on tech and research related stuff. :/

    1. I know the stricter FDA regulations have made advancements like this difficult, thus the many adjustments to the expected release date. Now that the FDA bubble has finally popped, I’m hoping we don’t have to wait too much longer!

  3. Ugh 😦 I remember 1st hearing about smaller pods “just around the corner” at our JDRF walk in the Fall of 2007. I hope they show up on your doorstep soon, and prove themselves to be worth their WAIT in gold!!!!

  4. That’s too bad. I had much the same experience trying to upgrade with Minimed a few years ago. Eventually I just had to go through insurance and get a brand new pump. I hope that everything works out for you!

  5. I agree. I get it from the business perspective that they can’t afford to just throw away the old pods. BUT… The fact that new customers are getting the new system within days of ordering and the rest of us are getting the run around does not make me happy. We are ready to reorder. But I do not want 3 more months of old pods.

  6. I am so sorry this is happening to you. I was one who went through as a new customer and had my new system within a month. This shouldn’t happen. 😦

    1. Thanks for your sympathy! 😉 I’m glad you have your new system and I hope it’s working wonderfully for you! I understand the practicality of filling orders for new customers, so I’m excited to see new users! I think there should be a better balance with existing ones though. I don’t think long standing customers should be first in line, just not left out there wondering for an indefinite period of time! 🙂

  7. Do you stil have supplies for the first-gen Pod? Have you re-ordered recently, as in this year? That is when existing customers are supposed to be weaved onto the new system – that’s what OmniPod has said all along. If they’re not keeping true to word on that, though, then it’s a problem…

    1. We have not reordered supplies this year. We are down to our final Pods, as we were managing to the expectations set in December and expected to have been able to replenish with new inventory by now, or at least soon. That change in expectation with no new expectation clearly set, is where our frustration lies.

  8. Yep. Not quite comparable to your Omnipod situation, but I remember when I picked out my Animas Ping in 2009, how they said the integrated system (with Dexcom) would be available in the first or second quarter of 2010.

    Still waiting, and wishing folks would go back to “under promise, over deliver”.

  9. I saw the SE rep while at my daughters checkup last month. The rep had a new pod and it was nice to see it in person. He asked if we had the new pod and I told him not yet. He was surprised (or acted it) and said when we order next they should get us the new system. He mentioned a free upgrade to the new PDM for us since we are still in warranty but the only bummer was they decided to change back to the One Touch strips. I like the Freestyle, the smallest blood sample available and for some reason they dropped them and the new system will now be using the One Touch. Bad choice. I like to keep the finger pricking depth to a minimum.
    When my wife called to order new pods since we had a few left we were a little excited as maybe now we can get the new pod. Not so fast… When she asked for the new pods Insulet told us that they are only sending them to new customers right now and once they settle down they will start to deploy them to the existing customers. To me it feels like once they have us locked in we have no choice. Not the right thing to say or be treated after 3 years of loyal support and taking heat from our Endo office as they do not like the Pod system for some reason. Feel like old news and my daughter who is now 15 keeps feeling let down by Insulet. I hope they get on the ball soon but still upset over the One Touch.

      1. Ha! I know Melissa, and had double checked with that post before I replied just earlier. 😉 There definitely was talk about the One Touch strips – I’ve seen press releases to that end, so the rep wasn’t completely off base, just out of date!

  10. Thanks for voicing collective frustration! They set themselves up for not being able to give a clear timeline when they decided to make current users (esp. those of us using vendors) burn through the backlog of old pod inventory for them before releasing the new pods to us. Dexcom did a better job of managing expectations around their 7+/G4 transition. Ah well – I’m hoping Santa will bring the new pods, at least!

  11. As if the delays aren’t frustrating enough, we are experiencing many more alarms, kinks and defects as they burn through their supply of old pods. I just don’t like to keep hearing a new story. Latest I was told is that old customers would start getting shipments of new pods in late April/early may. Our next reorder is due to ship may 4th. I’ll be calling to make sure it’s new pods or change my order to the minimum amount.

  12. I wonder (but hope it is not) just public relations getting the “new” customers the updated system before the old people. I mean think alone of the bloggers who are “new” to the Omnipod system who have written about it in the past few weeks. Until the existing customers raise a bigger stink than the positive PR from the new customers they have no reason to do any different.

    Sorry, I’m a bit jaded.

  13. We, too, are waiting. Bean had a delivery in January….old pods. Our next shipment is later this month and when I asked a rep recently I was told ‘maybe’ and that we’d just have to wait and see. Ugh!

  14. I’m a bit peeved to say the least… when idiots run a business is what this segment should be called. I am very unhappy, so much so that I am actually considering changing to another company and I do hold a grudge… ask Minimed.

  15. After waiting 4 years, we were shipped the new pods, but no new pdm. I called and said hmm where is the new pdm. Then was told oops you need to ship those new pods back so we can send you old ones to replace them. Sorry no way to buy or get a pdm to run them. Well that certainly makes sense! Sitting in the boxes they do look smaller and very streamlined.

  16. any new update on the smaller pos.
    I call insulet every week and they have no news on the new smaller pods.
    really no one there can call mafcu and get a real date on the next ava pods?

  17. My daughter is a new dx. March 10, 2013. It’s disheartening to hear of all your struggles waiting when I know her new one is ordered and on the way.

    Is there anything really wrong with the old ones? How often do you get a new system anyway? I thought insurance would typically get you something new after 4 years. I can only imagine what can happen in that amount of time!

    I hope the folks who’ve been around a while get their new systems soon – or at least clear communication about when you will see them! Best wishes!

    1. Hi Julie. For us, it’s been six years, so yes I agree, we would like to see something new in that amount of time. That is precisely the point. We haven’t. We are anxious. Our insurance has been approved and we are ready. It’s just a matter of Insulet making us a priority and pulling the trigger. It has nothing to do with whether or not the old system works. It’s a matter of open and consistent communication on the part of Insulet and they have failed in that regard. Expectations were set for us, and they didn’t meet them.

      1. I think you may have intended to reply to Julie rather than Jenn .. that’s me. I’m in the same situation as you … my son has been on the OmniPod four 6 years and we are waiting for the new PDM and pods.

  18. I just got off the phone with Insulet to voice my frustration over this same issue. After months of calling and being told they were not shipping the new PDM and pods, this time I was transferred to a representative who told me within the next week I would receive an email from Insulet that would initiate the process for receiving these on my next order. Unfortunately, I just got my son’s 3 month supply of pods earlier this week. Another three months before we get the new PDM and smaller pods. Unless of course his existing PDM malfunctions and is deemed replaceable.

    My next question to Insulet was if there would be new Co-pilot software to go with the new PDM. I was told same software but I would need to download a file extension from Insulet’s Web site to run it with the new PDM.

    Interested in others have heard how the Co-Pilot software is working with the new PDMs.

    1. Hi Jenn! That is awesome news! I hope it’s true! I’m not even at the point of thinking of the software yet – but I’m sure I’ll get there soon.

      1. Not your error! I went back and edited the message – I had originally typed “Jenn” by mistake. 🙂 I think it’s from the excitement of the prospect of “a week”!!!

  19. We just received a box of the old pos with a manufacture date of 3/13. Not a good sign.

  20. Lorraine, you have been a leading voice in this community for many years and we have learned from your comments. So thanks for that. Caleb has been so prominent we have watched him grow up.

    After having frequently defended Insulet and praised their products and even at times their service, I am now left extremely frustrated. They have misjudged the FDA, mislead us, and mismanaged the launch of the new pods. Even with many years of planning, they didn’t get it right. As far as loyalty—mine is to my daughter and not to a pump company. I cannot imagine my daughter switching to a tube pump but we would not hesitate to switch to a superior patch pump or ultimately a tube pump if Insulet continues to stumble with regard to innovation, execution, and customer service. In comparison, look to the Dexcom G4 for a successful and reliable model for product launch.

    Insulet has never been good at communicating with customers (the test strip fiasco is one of the larger examples) and after having listening to numerous podcasts of the Company’s presentations to the financial community, it is clear that they do not understand the level our frustration and betrayal, or exhibit at least outwardly, a true sense of urgency. By the way, I think they still occasionally refer to Caleb’s story (not by name) in their speech—quite ironic.

    I think we need to increase the volume of our voice—and this is a group that can influence others. I do not want to wait until December to see these new pods. I propose that we expand our complaints and start leveraging all the social media opportunities we have—since there is very little opportunity to talk directly with anyone at Insulet. I want the company to do well and thrive—so my daughter has a reliable partner. But I also expect them to meet their obligations.

    By the way, we also just got a box yesterday (6/7) and they were manufactured 3/2013.

    1. Rebecca,

      I agree with your sentiments whole-heartedly: extremely frustrated, more loyal to my son, would strongly consider another patch pump if there was one, Insulet doesn’t understand (or care) about loyal customers’ frustration, Insulet could learn a lot from Terry Gregg and DexCom in how to manage new product deployment and respect its customers.

      We have been notified that our system will ship tomorrow. I contacted the top executives shortly after this post. After a couple of attempts, I did get a voice message from one of them, although received no details and no return call when I attempted to respond. We were contacted by someone from the marketing department last week saying that because of our loyalty and support, we will be one of the first existing customers to get the system. I state this only for the purposes of full disclosure.

      We have been out of warranty for more than two years and have insurance approval for coverage for the new system. We are paying for it – not getting the free upgrade. I know of other customers who have also heard about getting the new system shipped this coming week. It appears the seal has been broken and the transition has finally begun.

      I hope that Insulet will learn from its missteps these past several months, and begin to communicate more frequently and with more openness. I hope the transition will proceed in a equitable manner – priority based upon warranty expiration, re-order status. This situation would have been much easier to swallow had the company been more realistic and forthcoming. I would have respected something like, “We are sorry – we underestimated the new business the rollout of the new system availability would generate and have made a strategic decision to fill new orders first. We have had production issues. We expect a four month delay in deployment of existing customers. We know the disappointment and frustration this will cause. We will continue to keep our customers updated.” Instead, we had to piece things together from investor calls, and still wait and wonder.

      I hope you, and all the other loyal Insulet customers, hear good news soon.

  21. Let me tell you right now that you will NOT be happy when you receive your new generation PDM and the new smaller pods. They do NOT work. They are an inferior product compared to the old ones. Within 2 boxes (20 pods) we have had 10 of them error. Pod Errors! Those are NOT good odds. Also the PDM has malfunctioned and had to be reset to factory settings. We have had this system for only one month. I cannot get anyone at Insulet to answer my phone calls or return my messages. When you call the wait time is well over 20 minutes, then it usually forces me to leave a voicemail that no person ever returns. I am we’ll beyond frustrated with the product and their customer service. The patients keep the company in business. I am unhappy and I know many others have to be unhappy with the new generation Omnipod as well!

    1. I am sorry you are having this experience, Lisa. This is quite contrary to ours. We’ve had the new system for more than a couple of months and have been quite pleased. We haven’t had any Pod issues at all. I can’t speak to Customer Service, because we haven’t needed to contact them, but our experience in the past has not been what you describe. Our only disappointment has been the communication and execution of the transition for existing customers.

  22. Sorry to say we have had too many issues with the new pods too. The PDM works fine but we have had an approx. 40% failure rate with the new pods recently (most but not all from two lots). It has gone from a nuisance to a health issue with our daughter’s BG levels shooting up every time a pod fails without an alarm (some have alarmed when she does the correction bolus later to treat the high). Very disappointed but of course the handling of the entire launch of the new pods has not been Insulet’s finest moment. They of course have agreed to replace each pod as it fails but last night—or more accurately this morning at 3:30am when the Dexcom told us something was wrong (skyrocketing BG number) and then the pod failed 4 hours after a pod change–we called and requested an entire swap out of the 2 1/2 boxes that all have the same lot number. Insulet agreed. Still think most of the Insulet crew are very nice well-meaning folks but wow this is trying our patience. When we told our daughter that she would have to go to a tube pump or back to injections if this problem continued, she was heartbroken. We’ll see if the new pod shipment makes a difference. And yes, we too have found the Customer Support wait times to be ridiculously long. At this point there is no reason they haven’t staffed up to address the 30 minute or longer wait times.

    1. I completely relate to your frustration. This is not a matter of a minor inconvenience, it’s your child’s health and well-being as well as disruption to your days, not to mention the anxiety you must be feeling from a lack of confidence in the product. I hope the new shipment resolves this for you. Please keep us posted!

  23. My son has seemingly pumped with Omnipod forever. Our local rep is awesome. That being said, someone at Insulet should be shown the door. This transition and the lacking of planning that went into it is absurd. After reading 4 hours worth of negative customer experiences along with some Glassdoor comments, I feel that quite possibly charter employees were promoted to positions in management that they were unqualified to assume. You can’t be this “off target” and assign it to anything but mismanagement. There must be 100 pages of negative customer service/product reviews. Those will hang around the Internet a long long time and deter potential users. (I am sure most of you went through many Google searches deciding on your first pump). The perception Insulet had has done a 180 degree turnaround and they have, to my knowledge, done nothing to address it with their users. Nothing. It’s a PR nightmare and the Board should be asking for someone’s head while recruiting a PR salvage expert. So disappointed.

    1. I fervently agree with your comments, Joe. Thank you for taking the time to post.

      We were shipped the new system on the first day authorizations for existing customers were allowed. I believe we were on a list of some sort to ensure that. That is the only redeeming action I can credit Insulet for in this transition, although I think it was more a matter of whom cried the loudest, which is not a strategy I subscribe to.

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