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#diabeteschat Blog – Smart Insulin Pen Event

#diabeteschatstories – Smart Insulin Pen event

WOW! What a nicely blended Twitter/YouTube chat that so respectfully incorporated both the lived experience perspectives and health professional recommendations around the use of Smartpens 😊

Today began with an interview between Host Tom and mother Edelle of teenager Shane who lives with T1D.  Hearing Edelle say that “we aren’t considered priority for pumps…it’s the younger ones that are” makes me a little wild. Teenagers have as much a need to access pumps than anyone. Bless the existence of smartpens on this occasion, of many. 😊

It was revolutionary for Edelle and her son Shane to hear about smartpens from the #DOC on Twitter who weren’t really into the pump after having tried it for 6 weeks. When Edelle heard about smartpens she said “hold on a minute…this is tech…and its using pens…this is a stepping stone between using a pump or pens”. As a diabetes educator, I couldn’t agree more with Edelle’s sentiment…as do many community members and clinicians listening to tonight’s #diabeteschatstories. 😊

Shane says “the timer is the best part of a smartpen because I am forgetful, but smartpens also reassure my mum I have given my insulin” and Edelle reiterates how smartpens take away the fear of ‘have I or have I not given’ insulin…or ‘have I double dosed’ with insulin”. Edelle also highlights that smartpens “mean I am not always nagging Shane…smartpens empower him to take charge of his diabetes as he gets older”.

Shane also likes how smartpens “uses Glooko to connect Dexcom and smartpens together – it develops a picture that shows us something we couldn’t otherwise figure out or piece together”.

Host Tom also adds the benefit of smartpens as being that “the data is already there…you don’t need to write in books…it’s all in one place for appointments, it reduces burden and just makes diabetes more manageable”.

A very common request from today’s #diabeteschatstories panellists and listeners was that community would like to have more insulins to go into smartpens so they didn’t have to change insulins just to access smartpens…and it was a very common request across community and clinicians participating in today’s #diabeteschatstories that everyone wants smartpens to link into Clarity…or better still, if we could have diabetes tech on the one platform as there would be less headaches with remembering passwords for multiple software platforms!!

“Living with diabetes can feel like constantly spinning plates which requires much thinking and planning between carbs, doses, monitoring, complications, communication with diabetes teams…so if there’s a way to make things easier for people with diabetes then we should” says Dr Tom Crabtree in reference to enabling smartpen access for anyone with T1D and T2D.

“Despite people with diabetes putting in so much effort to achieve HbA1C targets many still aren’t able to achieve such targets, so diabetes tech has to step up with providing more choice to support people with diabetes to optimise their HbA1Cs” suggests Dr Tom Crabtree. He states “that whilst Libre has been completely revolutionary for people with diabetes particularly during the pandemic so diabetes teams can support people remotely, he highlights that pumps are not accessible or not suitable for many…so the fact that smartpens are an option gives people a chance at enhancing their diabetes management in a way that suits them”.

Dr Tom Crabtree also explains that “having smartpens available provides more equity in diabetes care for more people because they prevent some people using pens who thought they were missing out on tech to no longer miss out…health professionals need to put smartpens into hands of everyone that needs or wants them…if there’s anything we as health professionals can do to make diabetes easier then we should”.

It’s a very unanimous message coming through #diabeteschatstories today…connected pens don’t ‘mind the gap’…they bridge the gap…within current diabetes tech offerings. 😊

Plus smartpens reduce wastage…YAY for this screams the #DOC across the globe. 😊

Check out the link below where you can buy an ‘insulin writing pen’ !! These have been made by an Australian living with LADA. You can donate your empty flexpens to Leon who turns them into writing pens…some of the profits goes towards @InsulinForLife. 😊

A question was asked from the listeners about whether GPs were easily prescribing smartpens. It was unanimous that if people hadn’t heard about smartpens from their specialist diabetes teams, then it was from the #DOC rather than from GPs. Host Tom summarises “that’s what this #diabeteschatstories is all about…it’s about sharing our experiences…to raise awareness amongst community…so before you know we’re helping so many that perhaps healthcare services haven’t been able to reach”. Here’s CHEERS to this. 😊

A very strong theme emerging from everyone involved in today’s #diabeteschatstories :

  • “just seeing doses helps so much…nothing beats the ability to see what we’ve done”.
  • “we just don’t remember doing something we do all the time so using a smartpen reminds us without effort”.

Dr Tom Crabtree validated this by acknowledging that most health professionals without diabetes would take for granted how simple and easy it is to miss a dose.

Some very noteworthy comments from today’s panellists on #diabeteschatstories also discussed the following about smartpen benefits :

  • “we can have data driven consultations with our diabetes teams, which not only achieves outcomes but also empowers us as people living with diabetes so we can continue to self-manage our diabetes between appointments”.
  • “when we have an adverse event where we might be in a daze we can go back and review the data that the smartpen app recorded, which pieces the jigsaw together about the adverse event…this is powerful to not only enable the person to heal from the adversity but to learn new diabetes management strategies”.

Probably the most common theme of all on today’s smartpen #diabeteschatstories was the very simple thing of :

  • “smart pens reminding us to give insulin”

Dr Tom Crabtree again validated how important and useful this truly was for health professionals as it “provided them with the clarity of knowing what doses are given when, which made the assessment of data most useful”.

There were also some interesting discussion amongst the panellists whether they chosen smartpen tech to prepare them for pump therapy or if smartpens helped them with their transition to pump therapy :

  • One person with diabetes says “I don’t need to move to a pump now I’m using smartpens because I already feel like I’ve closed my own (diabetes management) loop…and when food related bolus calculators become available with smartpens then I will be even more satisfied than I already am with smartpens…so I have no intention to move to a pump”.
  • Another person with diabetes said “smartpens has been very helpful for me to move onto a pump, which is happening soon for me…it helped move my mindset towards thinking the way a pump needs me to”.
  • Dr Tom Crabtree validated that “smartpens can provide accurate insulin requirements that will create a smoother transition to pumps compared to if they’re going directly from MDI to pump”.

In true advocacy form that the #DOC are so famous for, their #TakeHomeMessages this week not only better enhances people’s diabetes but also connects people with their diabetes teams better…bless the diabetes community, honestly 😊

  • Community would like to see better linking between existing CGM/Flash apps and smartpens
  • Community and clinicians would love to have one platform for all diabetes tech software
  • Community would love to have a bolus calculator embedded into smartpen apps
  • Community also wanted to have reminders embedded into the smartpen apps to prompt them when to inject insulin
  • Community voice is important to advocate for smartpen improvements
  • Clinicians need to ensure that when approving a baseline requirement for new smartpen tech that community voice has been included
  • It was a mutual feeling between both clinicians and community that there needs to be education available for health professionals to understand smartpen tech so they can help community understand the tech
  • Community were very focused on ensuring diabetes tech companies were available to educate health professionals so they could then empower people with diabetes to consider and choose smartpen tech

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