On the Tuesday prior to the Australasian Diabetes Congress, I was lucky enough to be a part of the Oz Diabetes Social Media Summit. Brought together by a company called Ascensia Diabetes Care, the afternoon brought together a group of Aussie diabetes bloggers in Adelaide. You can also check out Renza’s recap of the Summit at Diabetogenic, and also search for #OzDSMS on Twitter to see what was Tweeted through the day.
Prior to being invited to this event, I honestly didn’t know a lot about Ascensia. I knew that these guys were connected to the Contour blood glucose meters many Medtronic insulin pumpers use. The ones that wirelessly Bluetooth blood glucose readings to the pump.
I’ve also seen Ascensia pop up on Twitter over the past couple of months, and much to their credit it is a handle that I would actually want to follow. Their feed is definitely one of those ones that genuinely wants to be a part of the diabetes community, rather than constantly spruiking company culture. I genuinely got the same feel from the team who were present with us in the room (and I’m not just saying that because they supplied a coffee machine!).
Ascensia were formed from the sale of the Bayer Diabetes Care business, and their point of difference is that they’re only focussed on diabetes. Part of the reason for our convention was the launch of their Contour Next One wireless blood glucose meter, which apparently boasts the greatest level of accuracy on the market. Bionic Wookiee David Burren has written more about the meter here.
In a room full of privilege, it was really good to hear standard blood glucose monitoring being given the emphasis it deserved. CDE Cheryl Steele from Victoria presented to us on the importance of having an accurate device to calibrate a CGM, and Bionic Wookiee David is living proof of a backup plan!
Grumpy Pumper hit the nail on the head in highlighting that the majority of people with diabetes actually manage with blood glucose monitors and insulin pens. I still manage on finger pricks for about 50% of the time, and I certainly welcome innovation in blood glucose monitoring as well.
I was happy to hear Ascensia’s vision for interconnected diabetes management, rather than pushing one line or avenue of products. We were told that their aim is to be a calibration partner of choice for insulin pump and CGM systems, as well as having formed partnerships with several data management platforms such as Diasend. All of this gives us more choice in the technologies that we may wish to use around our blood glucose meter. More choice for people with diabetes is always a good thing.
During the afternoon, we also heard from special guest Grumpy Pumper from the UK. Despite the persona he portrays online, Grumps is honestly a really genuine guy. Diagnosed in 1994 with no internet or social media, Grumps was doing the best he could with the limited information he had at the time. His sentiments definitely resonated with me and others in the room, which really says something about how many people with diabetes there are still being left in the dark today.
Grumps also shared with us his movement around encouraging other people with diabetes to talk about diabetes complications. It started with a foot infection and a simple Tweet expressing that he wasn’t ashamed of his diabetes complications, assuming that he wasn’t the only one who had them. He has inspired people to open up about their diabetes complications through a hugely popular series of guest posts on his blog.
To be honest, I was a little quieter than normal during this event. Usually, you can just tell that I want to say something by reading the look on my face. But these conversations were bigger than issues we’ve tackled at previous diabetes events. There were questions left unanswered that I honestly don’t know how to tackle.
I am a really, really privileged person. I don’t represent all people with diabetes. If I’m being honest, I’ve been struggling lately with the idea that perhaps I’m not as ‘identifiable’ as I once was because of the privilege I have.
How do we get the level of engagement that was in that room at OzDSMS, outside the room? How do we make sure that every person with diabetes knows about all of the options available to them in managing their diabetes? As Grumps put it, how many people will actually know that there’s a new blood glucose meter on the market today?
Disclosures: Ascensia Diabetes Care hosted me at the Adelaide Convention Centre, before migrating us to Adelaide Oval for dinner, on the Tuesday prior to the Australasian Diabetes Congress. I was already in Adelaide as a guest of Diabetes Australia.
I was fed and watered across the duration of the afternoon and evening. I also received a goodie bag containing a Contour Next One meter, test strips, information packets and lancets that will likely last me a lifetime.
There was no expectation that I would blog about the event. My opinions and my time, including the annual leave I took from work to attend, are my own.