Those were the first words that came to mind when I learned that the Omnipod Eros system – the one that comes with a bulkier, non-touchscreen PDM – was going to be discontinued at the end of this year. (You can get more information about this decision here.)
Now, you might be wondering why I’d have that reaction, especially considering I haven’t been on the Eros system in over two years. And when I am fully aware of the fact that the Omnipod Dash and 5 systems are out, available, and the latest/greatest offerings when it comes to pump therapy from Insulet.
The main reason why I think it’s too soon to nix the Eros system? It’s because of how it affects choice. By discontinuing it, this means there’s one less option on the market for people who are interested in Omnipod’s tubeless insulin delivery. Not so much in terms of the pod itself, as that design has largely remained unchanged as Insulet innovates products over time, but certainly regarding the PDM device.
It goes without saying that the Eros PDM is clunky, uglier, and overall out-of-date compared to it’s newer counterparts. The Eros PDM is a behemoth in size that relies on AAA batteries to keep it running and features chunky buttons that need to be firmly pressed in order to navigate from one screen to the next. Meanwhile, the Dash and 5 PDMs are sleek, touchscreen models that can be charged just like a cell phone. So I can’t deny that the Eros looks like it’s from the Stone Age when comparing it to the Dash and 5.
But this is actually favorable to some people. One thing that kept me from transitioning to an insulin pump for a long time was that I didn’t want to feel super attached to yet another physical piece of equipment I’d have to carry around; at that point in my life, I was already toting around my phone and separate CGM receiver (this was pre-Dexcom app days) everywhere I went. When I finally did start using the Omnipod Eros, it took time for me to get used to the PDM, but I came to appreciate it for its distinct heft, and could quickly and easily grab it from my bag without really having to look for it due to its size.
Now, I constantly get my PDM and cell phone mixed up – sometimes, I even go to text someone from my PDM, only to realize after I unlock it that I grabbed the wrong device. And I hate that I have another piece of tech that needs to be recharged so frequently. I monitor the battery life all the dang time, and have to plug my PDM in every few days to fully recharge it, whereas with the Eros all I had to do was swap out the batteries every 3 or so months. It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but I already have so much to monitor when it comes to my diabetes that I sometimes resent that I have to also keep an eye on the technology that’s supposed to help me simplify my management.
Moreover, a reason why the Eros PDM was so bulky was that it also doubled as a blood sugar meter. Admittedly, I scarcely ever utilized it as such, but it was always nice to know that I had the option of doing so if I wanted. Since the Dash and the 5 PDMs are essentially repurposed smartphones, the blood sugar meter function isn’t available on either, and I know this is probably a bummer to some people with diabetes who preferred using the PDM device as an all-in-one type of technology.
So while I get the decision to encourage more folks to upgrade to newer Omnipod systems, I’m also a little bummed for the individuals who were deliberately postponing that move, or not wanting to make it in the first place. I can totally relate to not feeling ready to make a diabetes tech change-up; after all, I waited almost 15 years of having diabetes before I even thought about trying an insulin pump. I benefited from being able to make that transition when I felt ready, and I just feel that it’s a shame that others won’t be able to do the same due to the pending discontinuation of the Omnipod Eros.