This week, catching up with Dexcom CEO Kevin Sayer – overseas at the ATTD conference. We talk about everything from a G7 update, new partnerships, in-app notifications and those sensors that you’ve probably heard about getting stuck. We also talk about competition, customer service and a lot more.
In Tell Me Something Good, a Miss America contestant with T1D has pretty stellar week – and it has nothing to do with her crown and sash.. this is about engineering .
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
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Episode transcription (we’re in beta so please excuse grammar, spelling, punctuation and the fact that AI can’t figure out Dexcom speak)
Stacey Simms 0:00
Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop created for people with diabetes by people who have diabetes by Real Good Foods, real food, you feel good about eating, and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.
This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:26
This week, catching up with Dexcom CEO Kevin Sarah overseas at a big diabetes Technology Conference. We talk about everything from the g7 new partnerships in app notifications. And those stuck sensors that you’ve probably heard about or seen on social media.
Kevin Sayer 0:45
There’s a freak out factor but Let’s face it, if that’s your last sensor, that’s not fair. And that’s not right. So we noted it, we’ve seen it, we’ve read it. We’ve done everything we can to mitigate it. I’m very comfortable we’ll see this come down.
Stacey Simms 0:57
We also talk about upcoming CGM Competition, customer service, direct to Apple Watch and a lot more.
in Tell me something good on Miss America contestant with Type 1 diabetes has a pretty stellar week and it has nothing to do with her crown and sash. This is about engineering. This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your healthcare provider.
Welcome to another week of Diabetes Connections. I am your host Stacey Simms, we aim to educate and inspire about type 1 diabetes by sharing stories of connection. My son was diagnosed with type one, just before he turned two. That was more than 13 years ago. My husband lives with type two diabetes. I do not have diabetes. I have a background in broadcasting and local radio and TV news. And that’s how you get the podcast. longtime listeners know what the show is all about. letting some new people know because let’s face it anytime we talked to dexcom or talk about anything New technology, we get a lot of new listeners. So welcome!
If you’ve come for that, I hope you stick around and go through our almost 300 past episodes. Now, you can find everything at Diabetes Connections. com, we have a very robust search, there’s the regular old search box on the upper right hand side. Or if you click on the episode page, there is a way to sort them by category. So if you want to see all the technology episodes are all the ones with athletes are all the ones about family or advocacy, you can sort them that way as well.
Before we talk to Kevin Sayer, it is important to point out that as you heard the very top Dexcom is a sponsor of this show, and has been for a few years now. Our agreement means I talk about them in a commercial, which you will hear later on the show. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t get to ask hard questions. I really try to serve you as you listen, I try to serve you first. And if I’m not doing that this show doesn’t work ethically. It’s really important to disclose these things. And I always get upset when other either podcasters or bloggers or speakers don’t do that. If you’re a longtime listener, you understand how it works around here. Hopefully, I am doing a good job of serving you. But just to be clear, the advertisers in the show pay for the advertisement. And I believe in them, and I’m glad they’re here. But they do not tell me what to say, in the show anywhere else on social media, or when I write a blog, that sort of thing. It’s not that kind of relationship.
So we’re talking to Kevin coming up in just a couple of minutes asking your questions. I took a whole bunch of them from the Facebook group. We do have a Facebook group, it is Diabetes Connections, the group, very original, but very easy to find that way I thought, and that’s really the best way if you want to ask these newsmakers questions I usually ask in the group and you can always contact me that way. That’s coming up in just a minute.
But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by another sponsor, One Drop. It is so nice to find a diabetes product that Not only does what you need, but also fits in perfectly with your life. One Drop is that is the sleekest looking and most modern meter My family has ever used. And it’s not just about their modern meter setup. You can also send your readings to the mobile app automatically and review your data anytime, instantly share blood glucose reports with your healthcare team. It also works with your Dexcom Fitbit or your Apple Watch. Not to mention they’re awesome test strips subscription plans, take as many test strips as you need, and they’ll deliver them to your door. One Drop diabetes care delivered, learn more, go to Diabetes Connections calm and click on the One Drop logo.
My guest this week is Dexcom CEO Kevin Sayer. He is joining us from the International Conference on Advanced Technologies and Treatments for diabetes, which this year is in Madrid. So as we’re talking to Spain here, please pardon any glitches or weird phone sounds that might pop up but hopefully all will go away. Kevin, thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate it.
Kevin Sayer 5:02
Oh, thank you, Stacey. It’s good to be back again.
Stacey Simms 5:05
All right, let’s start with the news that has already come out of the conference. And that is this official partnership with Insulet. With Omnipod. Can you start by talking a little bit about? And I’ll be honest with you, I’m a little confused. I they’re already in clinical trials for Horizon. I thought this agreement was a done deal. Tell us about the agreement with Insulet.
Kevin Sayer 5:23
Actually, we’ve been working with Insulet since 2007. This is a long time relationship. And most of our work in the past was then under the form of a development agreement to jointly develop products together. The announcement this week is the culmination of all that development work over time to basically say, look, we’ve entered into an agreement whereby we know how we’re going to commercialize our joint systems. And also, as we have entered into these development agreements with our partners, we typically do it one generation of technology at a time, we made the g7 system available to the Insulet team as well. So once they get a rising launch with G6, as the G7 system gets ready to go, it will be will be able to migrate over to that system as well. So that that was the purpose of this announcement and the other. You know, the other reason for it, there is so much going on in the interoperability world right now. We index coms as well, it’s important that everybody knows that we have these relationships. And this relationship is very close and near and dear to us. So we therefore thought the announcement was good on something we have been working on for a very long time.
Stacey Simms 6:29
When we look at interoperability, you’ve mentioned already G6, G7. Can you just take a step back and give us a little bit of an update on that so Insulet will go with their horizon, which is not out yet. That’ll be g six and G seven tandem with control IQ also g six mg seven
Kevin Sayer 6:50
Tandem has access to G6 right now. We’ve not yet signed a G7 agreement with them, but we’d expect to do that and then they’re very near future. We’ve also signed a relationship with Lily and their connected pens and their platforms, whereby they’ll have access to G six and G seven as well. We have several other smaller relationships with some of the smaller pump companies or others where they have to six, access not a lot of g7. At this point in time, we have to look at that strategy over time and decide what approach we’re going to take with partners. The interoperability world creates some very interesting business scenarios, which I wish I knew the answer to all of that, but it ranges anywhere from let’s say, one person and go or two people and just work with them to maybe a few or just open it up to everybody. And I think it evolves over time. For us right now. We think it’s important that we support certainly as many as we can, but offer even a heightened level of support to those who are going to have commercial offerings in the near future as speaking towards Tandem and Insulet. In particular, the control IQ uses g six and we read certainly very good things about that is that since we’ve been out there. And so we’ll work with them all. This is going to evolve over time. All the answers are available. Sure.
Stacey Simms 8:07
Okay, so let’s talk about control IQ quickly, because that’s been in the news quite a lot lately. We just started it about three to four weeks ago. It’s been working very well for my son, but Dexcom owns the algorithm, but used to be called or maybe still is type zero.
Kevin Sayer 8:23
So let me give a little clarity on the fundamental or the underlying science and the calculations behind the algorithm are in fact, developed a type zero and owned by Dexcom. Tandem has filed that as their controller. They have done some user experiences some modifications as to how it is integrate into their pump, but the fundamental algorithm is owned by Dexcom. And type zero. That’s correct. So the sensor in the algorithm driving it are Dexcom properties.
Stacey Simms 8:49
This is a little bit more esoteric than I expected to get in so quickly here, but what’s it like being in the algorithm business and Do you have plans to perhaps get some other algorithms in Your tool kit, if you’re like us, not the only one out there
Kevin Sayer 9:02
know when we’ve looked at those, and we love our team in Charlottesville, we have some decisions to make there too. So what we’re going to do long term with the algorithm and how available we’re going to make it, it is a great business opportunity is a great skill set for us to have as well. With that team in Virginia, we’ve learned a lot about our sensor, their opportunities to take the science has been developed for automated insulin delivery and apply it to decision support for those who really don’t want to use a pump all the time that we could possibly provide some good decisions along the way that would help them better manage their diabetes in the manner that they want to. I think there are a lot of opportunities to do that here.
What we’re going to let it play out, we’re still early on in in that one. They’re certainly next generation algorithm to come after they control iq version of it, which is kind of a step up or there’s even less user interaction where you possibly won’t have to announce all the meals and Everything that will be a little more aggressive on treatment and require a little less user interaction. And we got to figure out what our strategy is going to be to do that and how we’re going to go with that.
So we’re kind of in the algorithm business, but sensors are still our biggest, you know, that’s where we pay our bills, the most important thing for us, when we saw that asset was kind of available out there that we felt it was something that we just needed to control. And then we’re thrilled with it. And quite frankly, it’s worked out well for me, too, because they’re right away from us in San Diego. And we can very much collaborate very quickly, since we have access to those scientists and they have access to us.
Stacey Simms 10:39
So let’s talk about the g7. We’ve talked about it before. Can you give us an update, what the features will be? What makes it different and the timeline?
Kevin Sayer 10:49
Well, as we’ve talked, I’ll start with the timeline, as we’ve said in our public statements, will be starting a typical study this year. Our hope is have a limited launch in 2020 The limited line for that have a significant impact on our financial results. So in the public world, we don’t say a whole lot about the limited launch, we intend to do the full ride in 2021. And I don’t have a perfect time frame yet, I will tell you, the mitigating factor will more than likely be our ability to scale it up. As you know, from your community. We learned a lot in 2019, about scale and all those lessons were not necessarily positive, the Dexcom. But they were good learnings. It was hard, we underestimated some things when we rolled to six out the way we did and I don’t know that even if we delayed three or four months like to its original plan launch date, that we would have solved those problems because the demand for G six was so much higher than we anticipated.
It would be you know, in the past, we could overcome 20% more demand than we have because we didn’t fill that many sensors. So yeah, if you’re manufacturing 2 million sensors. We can come up with another 200, 300 thousand, that’s not a problem. But when you use the numbers we’re at today. becomes a problem. So if anything, we learned anything from the big six launch, we are going to be prepared to scale g7 when we launch it, because when it comes, nobody’s going back, just like nobody’s going back to G five g six
features of the product, as we’ve talked about before it much thinner, smaller profile, disposable electronics. So there’s not a transmitter component anymore. There’s no assembly of anything before you put it on, you literally take it out of the box, press the insertion device into your skin and hit the button and you’re gone much smaller plastics profile. from an environmental perspective, patients will be glad to know that we get that comment frequently on our current system about all the plastics length of where we’re shooting for an extended wear period.
I have to tell you, we will balance the extended wear period against the accuracy and performance of the system with respect to iCGM standards. We know we have to have this as an iCGM to talk to these automated delivery systems and sometimes you make trades offs. Length of wear versus accuracy, as most people know, at some point in time, the longer you wear a sensors, the more difficult it is for to perform perfectly. One of the things that I often that isn’t understood about g six, I can give the perfect example, these standards set by the FDA on iCGM are difficult. They’re not simple to meet. And literally the way that g six algorithm works is if through our and our analytics, we look at the sensor signal and determine that that sensor is about to become less accurate than it should be, under iCGM rules, we turn it off. So there’s a perceived lack of reliability from some of our patients on the sensor, when in fact that’s not the case at all. We’re turning it off intentionally.
And that’s very often associated with physiology. You know, people’s bodies are different, and even sensor sessions can be different based on how much activity you have or where, the place you insert the sensor. So we’re hoping for an extended To 15 day, where it certainly wouldn’t be less than 10. We will go either way, but we need to make sure we meet the criteria. The sensor is much shorter than g six. So it will be a shorter sensor from our user experience so far and our preclinical work we’ve had nothing but great feedback on that.
Stacey Simms 14:17
What does that mean? Is it a shorter wire or a shorter device, smaller, shorter wire
Kevin Sayer 14:22
Shorter wire with the direct insert, not angle, but it is straight in but it’s very, very short.
Stacey Simms 14:33
More to come on the g7 and many other Dexcom issues. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Real Good Foods, good foods, and their philosophy is all about keeping it real with food with community and with each other. And if you go on their website, you can find out so much more about the product real food, high protein, it’s not about chemically made protein powders. This is about food, chicken cheese Right, low carb, grain free and zero added sugar. They keep adding products. We are big fans of the original pizza and the poppers but they’ve added a breakfast sandwiches with sausage or with bacon, cauliflower crust pizzas, chicken alfredo, other Italian entrees. They just keep adding more great stuff, find out more, go to Diabetes Connections calm and click on the Real Good Foods logo. Now back to my interview with Kevin and we were talking about the g7.
You mentioned the the longer were balanced with their performance Do you expect the g7 to perform differently to perform I hate to say better but to use the criteria you were talking about with the iCGM? Do you expect fewer issues with either Physiology or the sensor sensing that something is wrong and then turning off.
Kevin Sayer 15:57
That is our hope and our belief? We have learned So much from G six, as to what we can improve and make better It’s been one of the scientists said to me the other day, he feels like he’s working in a semiconductor factory. We’re learning that much about sensors these days, as we’re preparing for this setting to launch this product, we may not even be able to get all the things we’ve learned into the first version. But I think there’ll be a couple of iterations whereby I know the extended wear will come and I know that that the reliability will be there. One of the things that we put around ourselves as a criteria is to significantly improve the reliability percentages. And we were experiencing on G six today, both on G six going forward and on g7. It just doesn’t work. Patients have to return to the sensors, because they fall off or don’t last long enough. We have to make that experience more consistent. So we’re very focused on that. Not just with you seven, but with the six improvements as well.
Stacey Simms 16:51
All right, this next one, I just have to get it out. Kevin, I feel like a broken record. But can we talk about direct to watch what’s going on? I know there’s been a lot of holdups but is that something that’s happening?
Kevin Sayer 17:03
No, and we’re working on it I appreciate you asking again, is technologically very difficult a Bluetooth protocols on the watch are not the same as the phone. And I go down to r&d and I asked the guys a question, every time I talk to you tell me what’s going on. And it’s not only difficult from the Bluetooth perspective, there’s an experience perspective, it’s also difficult with respect to the alerts Can we make it worse, audibly loud enough for by somebody can hear them? What happens when you take your watch and you put it on your charger and it’s your primary displaying walk away, there’s some where issues and some issues around the watch to create a little bit different experience and required a bit more fun on our part, and quite candidly, a lot more complex engineering. And we have done firmware updates to get us closer there.
When we’re done. We’ll announce it. The other thing I would tell you is even if we weren’t finished today, I wouldn’t tell anybody I’m not trying to tell anybody till every transmitter in the field is was compatible because it will be different. version of the firmware on the transmitter. And while it was still be seamless on your iPhone or your Android phone, it will look the same if we announced direct to watch, and then we have a bunch of transmitters in the field that don’t go director will watch, we’re creating a tech support issue that will just again lead to patients being upset. So we’re working on it, it’s just a ways out and all these opportunities or engineering, things we have to get done are not just caused by Dexcom, either. There’s Apple things that we just have to understand better. They work very closely with this. They’re very helpful. It’s just taking a lot of time. Sure.
Stacey Simms 18:34
Well, thanks for the update on that. It’s nice to know, you know, there’s always a fear that these features may not get rolled out right. There’s always a fear that and I know you know, this is the type one community that we see CGM makers and other technology companies looking at the the enormous type 2 market which has very different needs very different wants, and that we will be left behind so the watches I mean, it’s a little bit dramatic to put it in that way. Looking at direct watch, but you understand what I’m talking about, right?
Kevin Sayer 19:03
Yeah, I do. And I let me respond to that a little bit, please do. You’re right. There are a lot more people with type two diabetes, type 1 diabetes, but there is nothing that we do for people with type 1 diabetes, that can’t create a great experience for people with type two diabetes. I would argue that the good things we do for type one patients translate better over to type two then heading down a path with lesser accuracy, or lesser connectivity or fewer features. You’re much smarter to make a product performance is superb level and then make the changes software related rather than then system related. And rather than sensor related, which is the way we’re doing it now.
Or you know, there was a big fear that g7 would be a type two product only hired that from a lot of patients because barely our partner been a great partner has been very much focused on type two where they’re on duo, a managed diabetes management program, but that’s not the case. We We will launch our g7 system with his ice ice jam label current plans are a legit person in the type one space. After that, even with G six, we can adapt the G six platform to a type two patient that has a different software experience. It doesn’t detract at all from what we do for our core market. And where we sit today, the most important thing to do is to get a like if you get accuracy and performance and reliability and consistency, you can take that anywhere. And that meets our type one patients need and will also gives us the business flexibility that we need to go forward. But we’re not going to do that if we were looking at something for another market.
And I’m speaking way out in the future. today. It might be another platform that would measure multiple analyze that wouldn’t have ice jam accuracy for glucose, but you’d have some combination of pick for analytics glucose, ketones, lactic acid, some other one where it’s maybe 20% lack less accurate all four but you get a picture of everything. That’s more of a diagnostic As we look at sensors in the future, that’s something we would consider. But that’s, you know, that’s advanced r&d and something that we would look at. We don’t have an intention of going a different direction right now. We believe that the features we have we can migrate to type two without compromising our current patient base.
Stacey Simms 21:18
All right, let’s talk about some specific type one stuff. And let’s talk about following up. And no pun intended there. I apologize on the share and follow issues from late last year, you put out a very sincere apology, you really seem to have taken some steps. I appreciate that. I’m sure it couldn’t have been too easy to put that video out, and we appreciate it.
Kevin Sayer 21:40
But no, actually, I didn’t tell you that that did not bother me at all. We couldn’t put it out until we knew the answers. But that’s the way we run this company. And that’s the way I will always behave. If we do something that doesn’t work. You own it. You don’t hide and I wanted to do the video of the day with day one and Gemma calming me down, I wanted to write a letter or reduce something I was wasn’t happy that we could not go faster. But now we will always behave that way will never behave any differently.
Stacey Simms 22:13
I have some questions. Go ahead. Alright. Alright. So my first one is, you’ve updated the website and I’ll put a link in the show notes where people can go to check in just last week, there were a couple of issues that were resolved quickly. But I noticed that what happened to me I’ll give you my personal story. I noticed on my follow app for my son that we had lost signal, there was a brief notification, I apologize. I can’t remember what it said. But something like you know, server error, but something came up a little teeny red line on the app. I cleared it without even looking at it too closely. And I went on my way because I don’t My son is 15 I don’t look at the follow up as much as some other parents do. But then on a Facebook group, someone said go and check the Dexcom page because They’re updating the situation there is an issue. Great. So we all went. But my first question is, you will have announced, I believe that you’re working on push notifications of some kind, because it didn’t occur to me and maybe shame on me to go to the website. So can you talk about the timeline for that and what those in app notifications will be?
Kevin Sayer 23:19
Sure. But let’s go back a step we said and I said in the video, two things we’re working on it immediately is a server status page and a product status page on our on our website. So you can go to the Dexcom website, and you can see how the system is functioning. And you can see that clarity is functioning Share and Follow how they’re functioning, and we give an update to those in real time, will then implement before in the first half of the year, we’re two months into the year almost before the end of June, we will have in app messaging to whereby if there is a share or follow or clarity or whatever issue we can send a message directly to the patient and are the followers servers are down, this is what’s going on and it will come in the app won’t come through text messaging yet. That’d be something we would do a little bit later. And in all fairness, I don’t know that we have everybody’s phone numbers to whereby we can push text, but we can’t push to the app into the app users. So that’ll be here by by mid June.
As far as anything going on Recently, there were a couple times when the status page was yellow. And they worked through those quite quickly learning from what’s gone on in the past and got that resolved. And we’re now establishing the boundaries for what example what yellow server status means, on our webpage. Because when we started this and just adding totally, one of the the apps had yellow and it’s happened to two clinics in the whole country. But since it happened to two clinics, we made it yellow, just in case it happened anyplace else on reality. That was the two words had happened and we dealt with it so we’re being rather cautious is causing anything that we We will make it yellow over time, we’ll put, you know tighter boundaries around that. But we will make it yellow. We’ll work through the issues. We’ve improved our internal communications, I knew something was going on from the minute that thing went yellow, I was getting notifications. And I was I was traveling, so it’s going much better. And we’ll build a structure up and continue to make it better. That’s all I can tell you. So we’ll keep improving.
Stacey Simms 25:24
And I know that you’ll be researching this, but I’ll give you some patient feedback real quick is that please don’t text me. You don’t need my phone number in app notification.
Kevin Sayer 25:34
Okay. Yeah, I would rather not understand. balance that with everybody else because
you’re catching a flight for the airport, what happens? You get a text message. So the expectation since we’re on your phone is we have the same infrastructure we just don’t
Stacey Simms 25:53
do what I don’t get a text message from the airline. I get a notification from the app. It shows up on my similarly you get a text from Because you probably,
Kevin Sayer 26:01
I guess it depends I Yeah, I know. Anyway, you have to be more like everything else that people experience.
Stacey Simms 26:08
Exactly. Okay, so I have a couple of questions. Many of these questions that I’ve asked have actually already come from my listeners. Of course, we all have a lot of the same questions. But here are a few that people sent in. Rachel, as we’re staying here on the follow up. Rachel wanted to know, if you’re still working on having the follow app getting same notifications as the primary app, because all of us parents, especially with older kids, now, we never know when the sensors is expiring when the transmitters expiring, is there any work being done to get the follow up to be a little bit more robust for parents work any caregiver?
Kevin Sayer 26:43
Yeah, we’re continuing to work on the follow up and add add more to it. I think it’ll be continual development cycle and will continue to add more. I will tell you from the teenager or the college students share a perspective the last thing they want is their parents. Getting The alerts from their app. I know that firsthand, because I talked to a couple of No, no, no, no. And so we try and balance it all. We will make the the share system more robust as time goes on. Because if we learned anything thing from the server outage, we learned how important share was. It is very important to everybody.
Stacey Simms 27:19
Yeah. And all due respect, when you have the first update, when you could make it for 10 followers. You know, not every kid wants everybody their school following them either. I mean, but these have to be parental decisions with good education. So, you know, I think I get what you’re saying. But these are all, let’s just see, these are wonderful problems technology has created. I try to leave them alone. Alright, so.
Okay, the next question came from a few people. And Gosh, I don’t know if you can answer this, because this is more anecdotal, but we’ve been using the G six since May or June of 2018. And it seems to me Just in the last two months, I have seen pictures and heard anecdotal reports of sensors getting stuck at insertion to the point where in my smaller I have a smaller local Facebook group. People are posting the things they have used to whack the sensor because you’re supposed to, apparently on Facebook, you whack it with a wooden spoon to get it to release or there might be a button underneath that you can push a pin in. But this is something that we haven’t experienced, but that I’ve seen in the last two months. Are you aware of this? Is this an actual problem that
Kevin Sayer 28:33
just so you understand, we monitor every complaint and everything that’s coming very closely, we have seen a rise in those instances. Fortunately, it doesn’t result in a patient getting bad data or anything bad happen. We just have to replace their sensor. We’ve identified the root cause of that and we’ve taken mitigations to correct that and that should come down going forward. We have this this Not this specific issue, but the fact is when we see things rise in the complaint base, we have a group of sustaining engineering group that jumps on these issues and determines where they came from. we’ve analyzed this, this specifically and we’ve implemented improvements and you will see that decreasing significantly over the next several months that should go away.
Stacey Simms 29:20
Okay, cuz I know the good news is there isn’t as readings issue, but the bad news is there’s a freakout issue.
Kevin Sayer 29:26
There’s a freakout issue and let’s face it, if that’s your last sensor, yeah, that’s not fair. And that’s not right. So we notice it, we’ve seen it we’ve read it and we have we’ve done everything we can to mitigate that I’m pretty I’m very comfortable we’ll see this come down.
Stacey Simms 29:41
Okay, but I’m glad to hear that. Is there actual advice of what to do if it happens? Is there the release underneath? I’m assume whack it with a spoon isn’t something that you recommend?
Kevin Sayer 29:54
Now we’re in anecdotes and I can’t speak to that. The easiest thing is call us and we’ll get us a new sensor as fast as we can.
Stacey Simms 30:02
I gotta ask. I got a couple of questions from listeners who are asking about outside the United States. Obviously our listeners are USA centric, but there are many, many, many in the UK and Australia and Canada. Can you talk a little bit about jif six and G seven, internationally.
Kevin Sayer 30:19
So g six is in Canada now. We launched it there in the fourth quarter. We also launched in Canada, any commerce platform reimbursement is not brought in Canada. Many of the patients have to cover the costs on their own. So we have tried to make it easier and Canada is the first place we’ve ever had an e commerce platform where patients can literally go online and buy their sensitive transmitters have them shipped directly to them without having to deal with this has been a very efficient and a tremendous growth driver up there. A lot more people are getting access to speech him in Canada because of that. That’s been a great experience. g six has been available in the UK for quite some time. And again, the UK business is I want to say three reacts when it was two years ago. So we’re doing very well there also, reimbursement is coming, but it is sporadic. It isn’t everywhere. We spent a lot of time with government authorities pleading our case, the importance of CGM, and we found that educational process great. they’ve jumped on board and learn a lot Australia, g six is coming. I know it’s not broadly rolled out, but it will certainly be a 2020 product there and should do very well in Australia as well. Government reimbursement, for CGM in Australia has gone very well. Here today. It is growing nicely, are all US strategy. We really have three pillars that we’re working on, you know, first those countries we’re reversing, that is good. We gotta broaden there. We have to increase access in countries where reimbursement is sporadic. And the UK, Spain where I am Italy, some of those places is very sporadic. Some regions it’s reimbursed others it’s not. Yeah. And then there is where we don’t play it all. Yeah, we’re very well In Central and South America, or Mexico, where we’ve got a filing in Japan virtue six, but we’re not launched there yet.
Stacey Simms 32:08
I’m gonna start this question right here. And it’s my fault because I’m running over time. And I want to get one more question in. So I apologize. One more question. Okay, so diabetes mine ran a column recently that was headlined 39 potential new continuous glucose monitors for diabetes. Now a lot of these are pie in the sky. We know many won’t come to market, but they went through and listed a bunch of new CGM that are going to be your competition. My last question is about customer service. Talk to us about how you’re going to improve, maintain, really try to over serve in terms of customer service, because you know, that in the last year or two as the launch of the G six was a challenge, because of supply, customer service has got to be a challenge too. So my last question is, assure us that it’s going to be okay from a customer service standpoint.
Kevin Sayer 32:58
Well for us, it will be Well, I will tell you the one thing we’ve learned this year, more than anything else is scale. It’s very difficult. And I just throw some numbers at you. Two years ago, we announced that the JPMorgan conference we had 270,000 active patients. That means we have patients that we know are buying and using sensors. Okay. I announced in an earnings call a week ago that we have 650,000 active using sensor patients. You can imagine the number of sensors we have to produce above and beyond that the number of phone calls we take, we will make customer service priority but scale is a huge challenge here and it is not cheap. We will spend hundreds of millions of dollars getting the g7 factory up and running before you see a sensor. We will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in G six at the same time, getting the factory automated getting the sensors more reliable. At the same time as we looked at the customer experience. There’s a lot of things we can do.
We have formed an entire customer experience Team at Dexcom over the past 12 months To go back and look at how we interact with people is 43 screens to start up the G six, new from scratch. Why is it 43 screens was because it was 43 screens and we did seven plus or G for whatever, we did the same thing. We’re go back and re evaluating all those things to make it easier. I believe also on the customer service side, we do need to get better. But we need to get better a couple of ways. Product reliability is the first thing if we make it so you never have to call them customer service gets that much easier. But inevitably patients are going to, I believe personally that software can alleviate a lot of customer concerns. As we look to the future we look at putting tech support in the app to whereby I’ll give you an example if your sensor poops out at eight days, it says Hey, your sensor quantitate days hit yes and we’ll send you a new one. We’re looking at things like this to make it much easier for our patients to work with us. We We purposely went offshore to set up a customer service center because quite frankly, we could not hire enough resources here to Do so that is going better as well on the distribution channel and make it simpler. We’re going to the drugstore with future products and moving g six there. So there’s not as much interaction as well. But I can tell you the customer service piece is every bit as hard if not harder than the technology piece. And we take it that seriously and we will over the next several years.
Stacey Simms 35:18
Seven, thank you so much for spending some time with me. I apologize to your people because I kept you too long. But I always appreciate talking with you.
Kevin Sayer 35:25
Thank you very much.
Unknown Speaker 35:32
You’re listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 35:38
I couldn’t get to everybody’s questions from the Facebook group. I apologize for that. But as you heard, we ran out of time he was doing back to back to back interviews. I don’t know who was next in the queue. I’m sorry. I did make him a couple of minutes late. But just a couple of quick thoughts on on my talk with Kevin they’re listening back and I do listen back to almost every interview before we air it. I sounded so offended about the text messages. Do not like that I don’t know about you. I want text messages to be from my family, friends and emergencies. I’ll take text messages from school, and maybe some alerts. But I want my apps to notify me through the app. And I want to be able to opt in and out of that. I know a lot of people disagree. You know, if you listen to the show for a long time, we don’t use share and follow like a lot of parents, I have never let any school personnel follow my kid. We do not see the need, but that is us. So you know, I understand Dexcom has to do its market research and make everybody as happy as they can.
The other thing that occurred to me is that when he talked about going direct to watch, and not announcing it, right, waiting till all the transmitters are out there and then announcing it. My first thought was and so many of us who listen are part of the DIY community. I don’t know what you do or how you do it. But the first thing that occurred to me was it’s going to take five minutes for these DIY folks to figure out that different transmitters are out there. So I’m relying on you to let us all know because I have a feeling As soon as they start shipping whenever that is and he didn’t indicate when, you know, I mean really how long it’s going to take people to notice that it’s direct to watch because I know there are people out there who every time they get a new transmitter their check
up next, tell me something good with one of my favorite past guests, Sierra Santa said, we will tell you what she is up to now she was in the Miss America Pageant just a few years back. But first, as I mentioned, Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. And here’s what I have to say about Basal IQ. Now, you know, we switched over to control IQ. But the first iteration of this the first software was basal IQ, the Dexcom g six tandem pumps software program. And when we got it, we started doing less work for better results. Should I say that again? less work, better results with diabetes. Vinny always liked seeing his CGM on his pump. But you know, before this change that was really just kind of a cool feature. I mean, he really didn’t pull this pump out just to check a CGM. He looked at his phone, but there was some serious sauce and the basal IQ that kept many more steady. His timing range increased significantly when we started on basal IQ. And his agency, you know, we don’t share specific numbers, but not only did it come down, it stayed down. It has been the same, really for more than a year. Now, as I think about it, it’s just been great. Of course, individual results may vary. To learn more, just go to diabetes, connections dot com and click on the Dexcom logo.
Right, tell me something good. Really My favorite part of every show. Send me your good news stories for those of you not familiar with Sierra Sandison, and I think most of you probably are, she was in the Miss America Pageant in 2014. I had to look that up because I can’t believe it’s it’s been that long already. But she went on stage first in the Miss Idaho pageant in July of 2014, with her insulin pump, clipped to her bikini bottom, you know, when they had the swimwear competition, and then she created the hashtag Show me your pump, which went viral. And I didn’t know this till recently, it was NPR as most popular online story that year. Well, then she walked the runway again at the Miss America Pageant with the insulin pump again on her bathing suit. And you know, we all went bananas.
Well, since then Sierra has gone back to school. She’s at Boise State University. She’s at the College of Engineering there. And last week, she won her team. She’s on a team for this, she won invent for the planet. This is a competition where engineering teams come up with inventions and solutions to make the world’s a better place. So they only had 48 hours to do this. It’s a pretty wild competition. I will link up more information about it so you can see exactly what happened there. And I’ll put some pictures in the Facebook group too. But it’s a team looks like a team of five people and Sierra posted. We slaved away at the 48 hour event for the planet competition this weekend and it paid off. We had so much fun and so little sleep, but then it gets even better. Couple of days later, she was recognized by the Idaho Society of Professional Engineers. As the number one student in her class of mechanical engineers, she writes, I am so humbled and still in shock this week seems too good to be true. Thank you to everyone who helped me get to where I am today. I hope to make you proud and keep wearing pink while doing it.
Every time I talked to Sierra, you know, it’s easy to forget that she is brilliant, right? We look at the bathing suit, which is how most of us first saw her and we’re distracted by that. I mean, I’ll be honest with you. When I look at Sierra, I’m always thinking about how bad my hair looks because she always looks gorgeous. Her hair looks great. Her makeup looks great. I have joked with her about setting her up to do a clinic for moms at like a friends for life conference that because we all need to walk around with a ton of makeup. I don’t know she doesn’t all the time either. Just because it’s fun, right? It would be kind of fun to learn how to do pageant makeup like that. I’m getting way off topic, but it’s So easy to forget when a woman is beautiful that she is also brilliant. And I think that that is so important to keep in mind. And I’m so thrilled that she is so far forward in sharing all of these accomplishments and not compromising what she enjoys, which seems to be engineering and wearing pink and looking fabulous. So Sierra, thanks for continuing to include us in your journey. I cannot wait to see what you do next. Just let us know when you’re taking over the world who would appreciate a little bit of a heads up
if you have a Tell me something good. Please send it my way. You can email it to me Stacy at Diabetes Connections. com reach out through social media the Facebook group is a really easy way to do it every once in a while I’ll post and ask and other Facebook groups but please seek me out I would love to hear from you. Help me spread the Good News in our community.
As this episode goes live, it is the last week of February I don’t know January dragged by February flew by I’m afraid to The page to March that we have a lot going on. I have three appearances for the book tour. I’m going to be in Wilmington, North Carolina, Winston Salem, North Carolina, and then over to Indianapolis, for the friends for life conference there. I am getting requests for the fall already definitely booking things in September. I think I have something in December already. So if you’d like me to come speak to your group, reach out. I’m trying not to do too many of these a month. I’m trying not to travel every single weekend because I still do have Benny at home even though my daughter’s in college. So it’s a lot of balancing juggling going on, but I’m loving every minute of it. Our next episode is coming up on Thursday, I’m going to be talking about a little bit of a Twitter kerfuffle. I don’t know if any of you saw this if you’re on Twitter, but there was a bit of a disagreement started by an eye doctor, a disagreement between how many doctors see their duty to give patients a wake up call and how people with diabetes actually view that wake up call and a real big gulf between these two groups on this One Twitter chat, unfortunately. So I want to share that with you and maybe how we can get our doctors to listen a little bit more. Alright. Alright, thanks as always to my editor john Kenneth from audio editing solutions. Thank you so much for listening. Joining me, please spread the word about this show. Word of mouth is the best way to grow a show like this. We can get more good information into the hands of people who really need it. So post it on your Facebook page, tell a friend who’s touched by diabetes about it. I’d really appreciate it. I’m Stacey Simms. I’ll see you back here on Thursday.
Unknown Speaker 43:37
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms media. All rights reserved. All rounds avenged
Transcribed by https://otter.ai