I’m not sure where time has gone but it’s now been a couple of weeks since the first Diabetes Advocates Day held by Medtronic in partnership with Diabetes Australia. The day was filled with some exciting updates on diabetes technology. But what made the event worthwhile for me was the insightful, honest and interesting discussions around diabetes technology.
Disclosure: While Medtronic Diabetes offered to reimburse me for travel, I paid for my own transport costs (a nice drive) and parking for the day’s event.
Many interesting discussions scattered the day, such as trusting diabetes technology and gamification use to change health behaviours, which kept me engaged and on my toes. One topic in particular that resonated strongly with me was accessibility of diabetes diabetes technology.
Of course, cost presents as the biggest barrier for many people with diabetes. But another major barrier to access is a lack of information, which starts from the company sales rep and has a subsequent flow down effect. Coupled with time-poor healthcare professionals, the latest diabetes technology often barely gets a mention in clinical appointments.
Cue the benefits of the diabetes community.
I think healthcare professionals often underestimate the importance of seeking information from other people with diabetes. Through people sharing their experiences with various devices and diabetes management strategies, this ultimately helps them with their decision making. It’s often emphasised that our diabetes management needs to suit us and our lifestyle. So by handing the decision making process to the individual is highly empowering.
“Clinicians have taken me this far and the diabetes community has taken me the rest of the way.” – Bec Johnson, CEO of the Telethon Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre
While this is great coming from a person with type 1, we know many healthcare professionals are skeptical of Dr Google. So we turned to endocrinologist Dr David O’Neal for his perspective and he quickly made it on my “awesome HCPs” list. He believes that some healthcare professionals feel threatened by patients who do their research. But in reality, they are there to inform and support us in our diabetes management decisions.
“An informed patient is a safe patient.” – Dr David O’Neal, endocrinologist
In fact, by having patients to gather information prior to their appointment, it creates a more focussed discussion that is tailored to their needs at the time. Sounds like a more efficient use of clinical time, that I only hope more healthcare professionals can start to adopt in their practice.