For clinicians working with individuals living with diabetes, the challenges of keeping up with the latest changes in medications, insulin delivery devices and glucose monitoring devices can be daunting.
OnCourse Learning staff spent a valuable few days speaking with attendees at the 2018 American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) Annual Meeting in Baltimore. Thanks to everyone that stopped by to talk about their challenges as diabetes educators. Here are some of the most interesting highlights from the meeting for those who didn’t make it to Baltimore.
According to Lorena Drago, MS, RDN, CDN, CDE, a member of the editorial board for American Association of Diabetes Educator in Practice, DANA was one of the top buzzwords of the meeting.
“The Diabetes Advanced Network Access, known as DANA, is an online central resource that allows AADE members to access the best available diabetes technology,” Drago said. She visited the DANA lab to learn how to navigate the website and identify the most salient features AADE members can use to enhance and advance their practice.
Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, author of several best-selling consumer books published by the American Diabetes Association and diabetes expert agreed, “DANA is a one stop shop to learn about all of the latest diabetes technology and have a gateway to product websites to learn more.”
According to Drago, once practitioners access DANA, there are eight different categories to choose from (see screenshot used with permission of DANA staff).
Under each category, clinicians can find information about pens, meters, continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, infusion sets, insulin delivery devices, medication delivery devices and digital health platforms.
“You can click on each product to obtain the technical specification and sponsor information,” Drago said. “This is a great way for the busy educator to keep up with new products and help patients compare and contrast products and select the one that best suits their needs. Under the App Review tab, diabetes educators will find an array of apps ranging from fitness to wellness, including a robust selection of nutrition apps. With the vertiginous speed of new nutrition apps on the market, this section is perfect for dietetic professionals who want to obtain unbiased reviews to recommend to their patients.”
The Next Generation of CGM
Many attendees were interested in brand new technology including the Senseonics’ FDA approved (June 2018) implantable (subcutaneous) continuous glucose monitoring system called Eversense. Rather than detecting glucose levels using an enzymatic process, the Eversense CGM utilizes a patented fluorescent, glucose indicating polymer technology to measure glucose in the interstitial fluid. The Eversense CGM sensor can be placed in a site on the upper arm by trained physicians in a short office procedure, this sensor only has to be replaced every 90 days. It must be removed by the physician as well. As one sensor is removed, the next one is inserted in the upper arm on the other side.
Hope, who moderated the Senseonics product theatre at AADE18, added, “A strength of this CGM system is being able to wear the sensor for 90 days, rather than having to replace the sensor every 7 to 14. The user does, like other CGM systems, wear the transmitter on their skin, which must be lined up correctly with the implanted sensor to enable accurate glucose readings. This is a really good example of the next generation of technology for people with diabetes.
Providing Valuable Support
Hope has been the co-convener for AADE for the past year to grow efforts to closely collaborate with leaders in peer support communities. Valuable sessions about peer support at AADE18 focused on helping attendees learn more about how to learn about and recommend peer support communities as they counsel people with diabetes and their caregivers. Hope explained, “People with diabetes can feel isolated and stigmatized. As educators we can show clients that there is a way forward and help direct them to valuable resources either online or offline.”
This underlying theme at the conference featured several sessions including a panel of individuals living with diabetes including the CEO of the peer support organization Diabetes Sisters, Anna Norton, MS. Anna, whose journey into peer support began with her own challenge of managing type 1 diabetes, was impressed by the high-quality speakers and the marriage of science and peer support. According to Anna, “2018 was heavily focused on the value of peer support for people living with diabetes. Educators that did not understand it definitely saw the value by the end of the meeting.”
Norton is pictured below (on right) along with Christel Marchand Aprigliano (center), the CEO of Diabetes Political Action Coalition and Nicole Bereolos, PhD, CDE, AADE Board of Directors member with their poster about the value of peer support and education for people with diabetes.
As part of the collaboration between AADE and peer support communities, AADE developed a peer support section of their website.
Healthcare providers can access a 2-page handout called Learn-Connect-Engage. This handout allows clinicians to share with clients that there are peer support communities available to them.
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, signed and gave away 50 copies of her newly published book “Prediabetes: A Complete Guide and Diabetes Weight Loss – Week by Week” at the American Diabetes Association booth. While attending sessions, Weisenberger soaked up new research she can apply to her work as a diabetes educator.
“I learned that A1C as the gold standard of glycemic control has to be viewed in the context of other results when 14-day averages of continuous glucose monitoring are available,” she said. “Of course, this makes sense because it’s a much better measure. I had no idea that CGM would be that available and affordable. This is very exciting!”
Even for Kristan Eddy-Thorne, RD, LDN, CDE a Pennsylvania-based dietitian who has been practicing for 44 years, feels there is still always something to learn at conferences. “I enjoy and get a wealth of knowledge attending the exhibits!” she said. “I always try to use the information wisely to benefit the patients.”