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Francine Kaufman Part 2, Confidence In An Automated Insulin Pump

In part 2 of this Exclusive Interview, Dr. Francine Kaufman talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the ADA meeting in San Diego, California, about potential concerns about using an automated system.

Dr. Francine Kaufman was named Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Global Medical, Clinical and Health Affairs in April 2009. In this role, Dr. Kaufman is the key architect of the company’s global diabetes strategy, as well as a leading voice for multidisciplinary medical strategy across Medtronic.

Transcript of this video segment:

Steve: So, let me ask you a question. You leave here and you call over and a car pulls up, there is no driver in it…

Dr. Kaufman: Well, so far, there’s still a driver. But one day there won’t be.

Steve: We’re just talking about a couple of years from today. There’s no driver and a voice comes up and it says, “I’m your driver and even though you can’t see me, tell me where you want to go and I’ll take you there and you look very nice today.” Would you get in that cab?

Dr. Kaufman: Well, I might not get into the very first cab ever driving, but at some point, after a pivotal trial and an FDA equivalent approval, I probably would get it, because it will be efficient, it would enable me not to drive myself and it will get me where I’m going.

Steve: But we all know that electronic, mechanics, there’s no such thing as perfection.

Dr. Kaufman: There is not such a thing as perfection with people either. There’s a lot of car accidents right now, and that’s with people in control, and the concept is it will be fewer, but still some, with a controlled algorithm determining.

Steve: So, that’s what you would tell people when, let’s say, you get to the next level where is completely automated, works on the amount of insulin, the amount of food that you have, it’s completely automatic, it still it isn’t what you would call a cure.

Dr. Kaufman: No.

Steve: But certainly people will have a fear that something seriously could go wrong if there is a malfunction, and you are basically saying that it’s true with everything.

Dr. Kaufman: Yeah, It’s true now with a syringe, a vial of insulin or a pen or a pump. Somebody could make a mistake, put in the wrong dose of carbohydrates that they are going to ingest, put in a dose, forget to eat, so there is always, I would tell somebody that we should never have I fear of taking exogenous insulin, but we think the machine could do a good job, a better job, because it’s going to be working every 5 minutes that is all it’s doing where you as a person with diabetes have a lot of other things on your agenda. So nothing will be fail safe, well, it’s will fail safely, but it won’t, at all times, get you where you want to be and might have some episodes of hypoglycemia, but it will alarm and alert, and  if there is a real technical problem it will shut itself down an alarm like pumps do now.

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