Omnipod 5 and dexcom newbie help

Hello. Intro - I’m a type 1 diabetic who’s been using dexcom for a while now, but who’s never had a pump. I’ve never liked the idea of the tubed pumps, but my doctor has convinced me to try a tubeless Omnipod, and at first glance, the Omnipod 5 seems like a good choice since it connects to the dexcom g6.

But. My smart phone is not compatible with Omnipod 5, which I understand is no problem because there is a stand alone controller. But it is also not compatible with Dexcom G6 app either, which looks like it will be a problem according to Omnipod’s FAQ.

I’ve always preferred using the dexcom receiver over having an app, for various reasons. I guess #1 is, I don’t keep my location turned on unless I’m using a gps app. I’m sure they could make an app that doesn’t require my location, though I’m the furthest thing from an app developer so I could be wrong. But this is not info I think they need. Also, I like to be able to silence my phone, and dexcom said you can’t do that. Dexcom receiver battery lasts for days, and it’s nice not to have yet another app draining my phone battery. Sometimes if I’m out with family/friends who are bring a smartphone, I leave mine behind and just have the smaller receiver to put in my pocket. Etc. Etc.

So I guess my questions are… (and I’ll continue trying to find answers online but if someone knows and/or has good advice, I’d love to hear it).

Does Omnipod 5 give you good high and low glucose level alerts? If I get a new smartphone that’s compatible with dexcom G6 and silence my phone, will I get alerts on the Omnipod controller?

If yes it does give alerts - do I really need the g6 phone app? The Omnipod videos indicate that you just enter the G6 transmitter serial number into the Omnipod app to connect them. So I’m wondering - if I don’t get a G6 compatible smart phone, could I just do without a G6 receiver/app and rely on Omnipod to alert me? Would my doctor’s office be able to get glucose level data need from me uploading Omnipod data and no dexcom data? Or will I not be able to connect the G6 with Omnipod if there’s no phone app?

If I decide to just go with manual mode for now so I can use my dexcom receiver, would it still be best to get the Omnipod 5 or would Dash be better? My assumption is that unless my copays are significantly different, I should still go with the 5 in case in the future I decide to switch to auto mode.

I think that’s it. It would be awesome if you could just download the G6 app onto the Omnipod controller… and you could have both apps on that one device. I know my preference for a standalone device is opposite of the norm; most people want to have just 1 device but maybe I’m weird in that regard. I keep my phone on silent mode or do not disturb all the time and it would be nice to have something separate for diabetes management.

Thanks to anyone who can provide help .:slight_smile:

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On my iPhone, the Dexcom app didn’t request access to location services and doesn’t have that access.

In the iPhone app from Dexcom, I think I can’t silence the alert that says I’m below 55 mg/dL, or the alert that says my sensor or transmitter has suddenly failed. But I don’t have to enable the other alerts about high or low BG and so on.

Thanks for the response!

That’s interesting on the location. According to Dexcom they do require location but maybe sometimes it works anyway if you don’t grant it?

[Why does the G6 Android app ask for Location Permission?]

For the alerts - I guess I should clarify that I want all the dexcom alerts. High, low, sensor/transmitter failure, etc. I’d like to receive those at all times but have silence/no vibrating for calls, texts, and other apps at times.

I keep my phone on Do Not Disturb a lot. With the dexcom app, I just turn the dex alerts to “always on”. Hope that works for you…

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Just closing the Dex app during those times would work, right?

As Mariethm indicated, in the Dex app for the iPhone, the first item on the settings page is Always Sound: Allow alerts to sound even when Silent or Do Not Disturb are on. It will do what you request with this turned on and the phone’s alerts switch set to off.

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I think that’s a misunderstanding. The Omnipod G5 controller (receiver) replaces the Dexcom G6 receiver; the O5 controller does the job of the receiver and it takes the privileges of the Dexcom receiver.

So far as I can see you should be able to use the G6 app (not the receiver) on a Dexcom compatible smartphone.

If you use the Insulet app for the O5 (which, I think, you can’t because you use an iPhone) then, so far as I can see, nothing changes; the Dexcom app should still work on an Android phone. I might be wrong about this; I do find the whole thing very confusing. That said, the O5 might require that you activate the G6 through the controller/insulet app, but all the same once you have done so the “phone” slot of the G6 should still be open. If the Dexcom app doesn’t work xDrip+ most likely will (and it is so much better than the lame G6 app.)

You don’t actually know about the location tracking stuff; both the Dexcom G6 receiver and the Omnipod controller are more than able to track your location. Generally these devices have GPS built in; taking it out actually costs money. You are better off with a device where people actually check what is happening, but even then? The link to the Dexcom web site where they say they “don’t” track your location is believable but only because the phone manufactures are such total degenerates. Dexcom is under no obligation not to lie and they may have a duty to do so to protect their bottom line.

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The only alert on the Omnipod 5 is a urgent low under 55. It is in the manual if you can find one online. I have no idea what is sounds like cause I haven’t been in that situation since I started a month ago.

It buzzes at you a hour before your pod expires or if it detects a clogged canula or problems like that.

It has no high alert at all and it also doesn’t alert you when it loses Bluetooth signal from the G6 dexcom.

The dexcom receiver is not compatible with Omnipod 5 system at all. So even if you are in manual mode its not going to work. Your only option is to go with dash if the Dexcom receiver is important to you.

I really liked using my receiver too but the benefits of being on this algorithm (great nights sleep, letting a pump figure out my basal rate) far outway my love of the receiver.

In situations where I do not want to have phone alerts I turn my phone off and look at the Omnipod 5 receiver every few minutes to see whats going on. This is usually in restaurants where i can keep a close eye but not draw attention with alarms going off. Its just like a receiver with no alarms.

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The dexcom receiver is not compatible with Omnipod 5 system at all. So even if you are in manual mode its not going to work. Your only option is to go with dash if the Dexcom receiver is important to you.

Well, I thought I had what I was going to do worked out, but now I’m thinking maybe I need to call the Omnipod rep again. She told me that the only difference between the dash and the 5 was that the 5 can communicate with Dexcom in automated mode. The Dash doesn’t work with Dexcom at all, and the 5 doesn’t in manual mode. She recommended getting the 5 unless it’s more expensive/not covered by my insurance and just use it in manual mode for now. It would be like having a stand alone pump and I’d also have Dexcom totally separate using the receiver. Just like having a dash would be, but if I get the 5 I’d already have it should I get a new phone. Is that not the case? Will I not be able to use the 5 at all, even in manual mode, unless I pair with the Dexcom?

The rep at Omnipod said that the Omnipod controller doesn’t replace the receiver - it doesn’t give you glucose level alerts and you can’t start/stop a sensor with it. Otherwise that would be the best solution for me; to be able to control both devices with just one PDA.

No I don’t doubt that they’d lie at all. I didn’t realize the PDAs could also track your location, but even if they are, I feel like it would be harder for someone besides Omnipod or Dexcom to take advantage of that. Whereas if I have to keep my location turned on on my phone at all times, then anything on my phone could potentially access it. And even though these days I don’t allow anyone to use my phone unattended, nor do I give anyone the pin, I’ve had past experience where I just don’t want to keep the location on. I may give it at some point, but for now it seems that I’ll just be going with manual mode initially on the Omnipod. I don’t actually have an iphone; my phone isn’t currently compatible with either dexcom or Omnipod, so even if I didn’t have other concerns, I’d probably start with manual so I could take my time trying to decide what phone to get next.

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Ah. I had blindly assumed when I flipped through the manuals that the pod could activate a new G6 sensor, but in fact the quick start guide says nothing about starting the G6 - just that you have to refer to the G6 documentation. The user manual states this, from page 272:

Caution: You cannot use the Dexcom G6 receiver with the Omnipod 5 System because the Omnipod 5 System is compatible only with the G6 app on a smartphone.

This has been discussed before in other threads (search for “receiver”); the G6 has two communication channels (referred to in the threads as “slots”), one dedicated to the Dexcom receiver and, now, the O5 pod, the other open for use by software apps including the Dexcom app. So now I understand why Insulet had to take over the receiver slot; they needed to leave the app slot open so that everything could be implemented on a smartphone. On a smartphone the Dexcom app uses the app slot and the app is required to activate a new sensor.

Some more selected quotes from the manual:

Note: All sensor and transmitter-specific actions and alerts are controlled through your Dexcom G6 app. See your Dexcom G6 CGM System User Guide for additional information.

Note: The Dexcom G6 app and Omnipod 5 App do not directly communicate with each other. They have their own separate communication channels to acquire CGM values. As a result, you may notice that, at times, the CGM values may slightly differ in each app.

Translation: the Dexcom app talks to the G6 transmitter using the “app” slot, the O5 app talks to the O5 pod using it’s own independent communication channel and the O5 pod talks to the G6 transmitter using the “receiver” slot. So the Dexcom receiver doesn’t get any BG values after the Dash pod has taken over.

There are extensive discussions in the other thread about using the receiver, starting here. There is no way of connecting the receiver to the transmitter once the O5 pod is connected because it is the pod which takes the receiver slot and the pod cannot be turned off!

So, yes. I can see now that your original statement is correct, at least in official terms:

But that’s not the only way of activating and controlling a G6 sensor from a smartphone and, because the smartphone implementations use the “app” slot any will work:

  1. The official solution seems to be to buy a compatible smartphone. I did that when I was considering the O5 (I bought a Samsung SMG973U (an “S10”) for a little over USD200, they’re selling for USD180 or thereabouts now. I didn’t end up with the O5 but the phone works fine for AndroidAPS.
  2. The certainly unofficial approach with an existing Android phone is to use the BYODA web page to obtain a hacked version of the Dexcom app compatible with the existing phone. The page has a lot of different versions and, while the Google store may refuse to install the current Dexcom app, other people have used BYODA to install older (I assume) versions on “incompatible” phones.
  3. A more supported approach is to install xDrip+ and not use the Dexcom app at all. I tried this initially but couldn’t get it to work. I believe this is because I was, at the time, running the Dexcom app on my old phone (an iPhone XR) so this has consumed the “app” slot. xDrip+ has a much much better interface than the Dexcom app including somewhat more sophisticated alarm control.

You can try (2) and (3) without interfering with your current setup and without committing to the O5; with the Dexcom support on your 'phone you can use the controller for the O5 if you want to transition to it.

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You can use the 5 without pairing it with dexcom in manual mode just like Dash. You woud still need your phone for dexcom alerts.

I think reps and everyone at the endo assume we all have cell phones that are compatible with Dexcom. I went for a few months with just the receiver for a little while and got a weird look from my Diabetic Educator when I told her.

It seems to be a common issue; I saw a comment recently that the Dexcom app doesn’t support the current BluView 'phones, as associated with Tracfone. Those phones are apparently running Android 9. The problem is not the cost of the 'phone, it’s the cost of the cellular service; I use a prepaid service but it is costing me something like $50/month (to AT&T - the only provider that has coverage where I live).

Now it’s certainly true that closed loop systems work just fine without cellular coverage; when I started with AndroidAPS the 'phone didn’t have a SIM card and I didn’t get one until I was absolutely sure it was going to work! However many people regard cellular service as essential, so they have no choice but to use services like Tracfone with relatively cheap 'phones.

But in that case I wouldn’t need to use my phone - I could just use the Dexcom receiver as I do now, couldn’t I?

The rep did at first assume my phone was compatible but I explained that it it’s not. That’s when she said I wouldn’t be able to use the automated mode but it would still be better to get the 5 vs Dash so I’d already have it for a future phone upgrade. Unless my insurance doesn’t cover it or it costs a lot more, which I guess I’ll find out soon.

I’ve only skimmed that thread and will come back to it later to read more - but it sounds like people are assuming the g7 might have an extra slot so you could then use the receiver again. Hopefully that will turn out to be true and I just have to wait a bit. I detoured and started reading about the g7 and am very much looking forward to the 30 minute warm up time instead of 2 hours. :slight_smile: And it being smaller is also great, though I had to smirk about you “now” being able to use it on your arm, which is where my g6 is right now…

I’ve used xDrip a couple times in the past when my transmitter battery expired and I didn’t have another transmitter. It was very helpful in that situation and gave me a few more days with the existing transmitter. But in all honesty, I was very happy when my new transmitter arrived and I could go back to using the receiver and get rid of xDrip. Maybe I’d just need to spend more time with it though. #2 is something I could look into but seems a little daunting. But as I’ve not used a pump at all before, maybe it’s not the worst thing to do it manually for a little while first anyway.

Yes, indeed automatic (closed loop) mode is only available if a transmitter is connected to the pod. Used in this way the O5 system is almost identical to the Dash system; the only difference I can see is that the Dash cannot, officially, be controlled from a (compatible) smartphone.

You could get a cost for the Dash system too. Both systems use a prescription model; the Dash PDM or O5 controller is “free”, so in principle an insurer should allow you to swap from one to the other, it’s just a matter of your doctor changing the prescription. The Dexcom is different because the “receiver” is paid for separately, so an insurance company would probably object to paying for it more than once every few years.

Currently costs in the US for me (this is before my insurance kicks in, it’s the negotiated insurance price that I actually pay):

  • Dexcom G6 receiver (1, 90 days) $242
  • Dexcom G6 sensors (9, 3 boxes, 90 days) $977
  • Insulet Omnipod Dash pods (10, 2 boxes, 30 days) $529

So that’s $11,224/year, $935/month except of course that my insurance out-of-pocket-max is $6,900 and so it doesn’t actually matter what I use; the total cost of CGM+Pump+Insulin+Doctor is always going to be over $6,900 so that is what I pay each year (in addition to the insurance premium.)

You fill out details on a web page then wait a few hours and it sends you a link to an Android .apk which you download (to your phone) and open; this installs the app. It’s not daunting but it is scary from the security point of view. I don’t know if Dexcom have any input to this, I suspect not and I suspect not using their app may cause them to not replace stuff is something goes wrong.

No it is my understanding that in manual mode in Omnipod 5 you still cannot use the receiver. Unless anyone has gotten it to work then please let us know. My rep said it isn’t possible but I also have not tried it so I dont want to sound to final on it.

Quoting @John58 in the “receiver” thread I listed from Jun 26 (four days after your post to that thread):

I managed to get the Dex receiver paired today after deactivating an Om5 pod. After starting the new pod, Omnipod PDM paired successfully with G6 transmitter but when I came back within range of the (previously paired) G6 receiver…no dice, will not pair.

Hence my previous comments; if the pod does not have the G6 transmitter code it cannot communicate with it and therefore the receiver control is not interrupted, but the O5 is locked out of “auto” mode because it has no CGM input.

If you don’t tell the O5 system about your CGM you can continue using the CGM exactly as before.

I had a situation where the Dexcom senor had failed. The sensor basically became dislodged because I had been sweating and the lower part of the sensor came up. This removed the sensor wire from the skin. Of course, that caused the Dexcom receiver to go crazy with a low alert. The simple solution was to turn off the receiver. I use both a smart device and the Dexcom receiver most of the time. My smart device is a smartwatch using xDrip. The watch has it’s own alerts which can also be eliminated but the watch still shows all of the Dexcom transmitter data. After changing the sensor everything was back to normal. Since then I have changed my sensor overlay to prevent this from happening again.

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