On March 6, insulin pump giant Medtronic Diabetes announced it was beginning the commercial launch of the first-ever Hybrid Closed Loop -- (its "pre-Artificial Pancreas" system known as the Minimed 670G).
If you're not familiar with what this D-Tech is all about, check out our coverage at DiabetesMine:
But holdup, this doesn't mean YOU will have access right away...
It's going to take some time, even if you're already enrolled in Medtronic's Priority Access Program -- which the company has been using to promise customers they'd be first to get their hands on this new technology. (See below).
This is the first phase of a staggered rollout, which MedT describes as the beginning of its "customer training phase" that includes a very select, small group of Priority Access Program folks. who have existing coverage under their health insurance. Roughly a three-month early, "soft" launch.
- Early March (now started): Begins with ~100 MedT employees who are a subset of the larger Priority Access Program group, plus a small number of Health Care Practitioners (HCPs) who will be early system "testers." MedT is working to figure out the most diverse group to do a "dry-run" of these systems.
- Mid to Late March: Will expand to slightly larger group of Priority Access Program group of external customers.
- June: Launch to the entire Priority Access Program group.
- End Summer/Early Fall: Full commercial launch in the US for new and existing customers.
We are told the staggered launch approach is aimed at validating data/training processes and training HCPs and payers as they prepare for the full launch.
A Refresher on the Priority Access Program
As soon as the 670G got regulatory approval, Medtronic was pitching its upgrade program trying to get people to start using its newest tech. So, if you were using an older MedT device, you could start on the 630G that was launched in 2016. And that would allow you to get "priority access" to the 670G, once it launched.
But what does "priority access" really mean, and does it come with a cost?
Priority Access program initial cost = $799 (to be paid upfront, and then the subsequent discounts will be applied to your account balance)
Trade-in credit on MiniMed 630G system = $500
Total out of pocket program cost = $299
Participating in surveys and other user feedback programs can also trigger discounts, to as low as $0 for some people, the company states.
According to MedT, this program remains open through April 28, 2017. We asked how many customers have enrolled in this program to date, but the company declined to release those numbers.