I was recently e-mailing a blog reader who was investigating a national diabetes management system. As I began to respond to the e-mail, I found myself feeling compelled to add more and more perspective to the question being asked of me.
Diasend is the data management system I use with the team at my diabetes clinic. It allows me to upload the data from all of my diabetes devices – my blood glucose meters, my FreeStyle Libre and my Insulin Pump. I can manage my diabetes data in one place. For instance, I can look at my blood glucose level at 10pm last night, the basal rate of insulin being delivered at the time, and my most recent carb intake and bolus insulin dose.
Even better is the fact that I can choose to share this data with the team at my diabetes clinic. Prior to an appointment with my diabetes educator, I am able to upload all of my devices to Diasend. Gwen can better prepare for our education session, and I don’t need to wing my way through her questions around blank spaces in my logbook with umms and ahhs. It does force me to be more transparent around my results and the context surrounding particular occurrences, but I do have a great deal of trust in most of my team.
The e-mail went on to suggest that a management system such as this one on a larger scale could result in improved A1C outcomes in patients. In some instances, I could envisage this being true. However, I felt compelled to explain that an A1C result is not necessarily the sole indicator of how well an individual or healthcare team is managing diabetes.
How many times have I gone to test my blood glucose, expecting the moon and the stars, only to come back with something completely unexpected? Then I’ve had stellar A1C results in the past that have been praised, when deep down I know that I’ve been having far too many hypos.
There are so many issues surrounding diabetes, that many of us deal with concurrently. Mental health and emotional health, for one. I have a few good connections in the DOC who deal with more than one autoimmune condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or coeliac disease. Then there’s all the regular checkups we have to maintain. The time and the financial burden we must invest into staying healthy.
The quality of my healthcare team makes all the difference, too. Some healthcare professionals can barely scrape the surface of what’s written in my chart. Others see the whole person behind the condition. They talk to me. They gather the full picture of what’s going on. They are empathetic. They give me their time, and their undivided attention. They go above and beyond their duty to help me succeed.
However on top of all of this, we still do our best to live happy and fulfilling lives. That, in itself, is absolutely amazing.
In my opinion, there is no exclusive path to improved A1C outcomes. But dealing with each of the bricks that cement the final result together definitely helps.