Background: The primary focus of artificial pancreas (AP) research has been on technical achievements, such as time in range for glucose levels or prevention of hypoglycemia. Few studies have attempted to ascertain the expectations of users of AP technology.
Subjects and methods: Persons with type 1 diabetes and parents of children with type 1 diabetes were invited to take part in an online survey concerning future use and expectations of AP technology. The survey was advertised via Twitter, Facebook, and DiabetesMine, plus advocacy groups and charities including INPUT, Diabetes UK, and the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation. Quantitative responses were categorized on a 5-point Likert scale. Free text responses were analyzed using content analysis.
Results: Two hundred sixty-six surveys were completed over a 1-month period. Two hundred forty participants indicated they were highly likely to use a fully automated 24-h AP. Approximately half of the respondents indicated they would be likely to use a device that only functioned overnight. Size, visibility, and lack of effectiveness were the top reasons for not wanting an AP. Despite perceived potential downsides, participants expressed a strong need for a device that will help minimize the burden of disease, help facilitate improved psychosocial functioning, and improve quality of life.
Conclusions: The views of people who would use an AP are crucial in the development of such devices to ensure they are fit for use alongside biomedical and engineering excellence. Without this, it is unlikely that an AP will be sufficiently successful to meet the needs of users and to achieve their ultimate goals.