attending the medtronic diabetes advocates forum came with everything you would expect: great big hunks of information, meaningful connections, the forging of new friendships, open discussion, action plans, boats of laughter, and down-right exhaustion.
coming home from the weekend, i said to my partner, jesse, “that was a lot of diabetes.”
feeling slightly bent out of shape from returning to a diabetes job after a diabetes weekend got me thinking about a conversation with chuck on the first evening about his job in global coverage with medtronic.
he candidly told me about his recent visit to japan. he said that in order for most people with diabetes to be covered for an insulin pump, they must see their doctor every month. he went on to explain that all pump supplies are funneled through the doctor’s office.
at first i was stunned by this. every month and seemingly no autonomy to order as you please? how could they live like that i wondered.
but as the conversation between him and scott e continued, my mind wandered. i wanted to ask so many more questions.
what if that much doctor time actually worked to their benefit? what if they liked seeing a care professional twelve times a year because it helped them foster better management habits? what if not having to order your own supplies, but rather JUST pick them up made it simpler?
by this point, my head was exploding.
i had to ask about metrics, about the data. was this method working? could we benefit from more covered visits IF a person would elect to have them? could management improve if the extra task of ordering supplies wasn’t in our hands as patients?
i asked chuck if pump-wearing PWDs in japan have better A1Cs. and his answer was ‘well, we don’t know.’
if my brains were not scattered about the floor already, they certainly were by now.
being a big idea person, i started conjuring up things that could happen for all people with diabetes if we only knew how this model affected management. ideas were going off in my head like bottle rockets. one after the other. i knew that cultural and lifestyle differences would make for excellent confounding factors, but i couldn’t let it stop me from dreaming.
the structure for collecting data was already there. medtronic was already there. they were in japan, making an impact, talking with patients and healthcare providers. but they were not collecting the results.
this conversation kept creeping into my mind throughout the forum and since being back home.
i know that being around diabetes more helps me remember to check more, to bolus more, to count carbs.. slower. i also know that being around people with diabetes is exhausting because it is tiring to be so much more on my diabetes game.
i can’t say if seeing my doctor more often would improve my health ‘outcomes’, or do anything other than annoy me to bits. but i can say that if i knew that evidence showed that seeing your doctor more often improved management, i would sure as hell jump on the bandwagon.
so in the spirit of asking, medtronic, please start collecting.
for all people with diabetes. lets figure out best practices and get them covered by all insurance.
we need healthy empowered people in this world