On the 25th April 2022 the #Dedoc Voices Networking Event in preparation for #ATTD2022 was held via zoom. Many wonderful advocates from many different countries joined, as well as several partners, who made ATTD attendance possible thanks to their funding.
They included representatives from Medtronic, Dexcom, Lilly and Diabeloop.
The first presentation was by Maurizio Guidi from Lilly, discussing the topic of clinical inertia and how it can be overcome. The discussion raised a lot of interesting points, as it doesn’t just apply to people living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, but that there are problems with access, affordability and education across all types of diabetes. All types of diabetes are failing to get appropriate support and working together can only be beneficial in addressing these issues.
We also discussed what the T1D community can do to raise the voice of people living with diabetes to overcome this inertia. A lot of advocates thought that working together for all types of diabetes, rather than just raising the voice for people living with T1D would be a better approach.
Not all patients are advocates, yet they still need support and access to education, therefore coming together as a diabetes community could help everyone. However, a point was raised that while the community is already doing a lot, there is often a lack of support from healthcare professionals, therefore it isn’t just the patients who need to raise their voices, but healthcare professionals need to listen more, actively engage and apply what they have learned.
The next speaker was Miray Kaymaz from Medtronic, who talked to us about the #blueballoonchallenge that will be revived for another year thanks to the overwhelming support by the community. She also answered several questions in regards to new developments and how Medtronic is planning to include the point of view and feedback from people living with diabetes. She also addressed Medtronic’s closed-loop system and said that for now, Medtronic will remain as a closed-loop system.
The last presentation was by Bruce Taylor from Dexcom.
A very inspirational speech sharing his own personal experience with diabetes spanning several decades. He talked about the changes he has seen in terms of treatment and technology and why he is passionate about advocacy and is pushing for more technology coverage in different countries.
He explained how in many countries, policy makers are pushing back, saying that glucose strips work as well to manage diabetes and they are cheaper than technology. However, we must make them see the bigger picture, the cost over the lifespan of a person living with diabetes, not only the cost in regards to the next 3 or 4 years.
One voice can start a change, as Bruce said, and advocacy groups are like a choir to push policy makers to provide coverage and access to technology. By building an advocacy infrastructure, a global advocacy network, we can all work towards this goal.
One of the main challenges Bruce is facing is to making it clear to the policy makers that these diabetes technology products are an investment in people. Since governments only care about money, the way forward to get these policy makers on board is by showing that investing in technology saves money by reducing hospital visits and serious complications due to better glycemic control.
Another focus was on patient awareness and personal understanding. There is no One Size Fits All, not everyone can achieve the same levels with the same tools and that’s why Time in Range is a better focus than HbA1c alone.
Dexcom’s Time in Range campaign hopes to help educate both patients and healthcare professionals and to raise awareness of the different diabetes management challenges we all face.
After the very inspirational presentation, the Dedoc voices had several questions for Dexcom as well. One of them was how Dexcom themselves are helping with the issue besides raising awareness and what they are doing to lower the price and increase affordability.
Bruce Taylor adviced that the G7 will be more economically friendly by reducing waste and will also be cheaper than the current G6. Dexcom is also releasing the Dexcom 1, which is similar to the Dexcom 6 but at a reduced cost. Bruce also shared how he is talking to governments daily to improve access and is working with local endocrinologists to solve the access issue as soon as possible. They are trying to prioritise countries and where to get to, so currently there is a focus on South America and Africa at the moment.
A lot more important questions and discussions were raised during this meeting and everyone was very excited to be able to attend the #ATTD2022 conference thanks to the sponsorship of the partners.
As always, it was wonderful to be a part of such an international community and see the variety of backgrounds, experiences and discussions we can generate.
Thank you to Dedoc for organising everything and making all of this possible.