Medtronic European internet forum 2012

By | 30 August, 2012

Everyone’s second favourite pump & CGM company Medtronic once again brought together a bunch of interweb-savy diabetic types in Switzerland for their almost annual internet forum. The last two forums were pretty UK focussed, but diabetics have now been discovered outside of the UK in the deepest, darkest depths of Europe, so this time was a veritable Eurovision song contest with representatives from UK, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy and Greece.

European bloggers proving they can talk as well as write

European bloggers proving they can talk as well as write

There wasn’t much in the way of news from Medtronic that I can share with you without them hunting me down and shooting me for breaching my confidentiality agreement. But take it from me, it was really interesting to get an update on what’s happening, but there was no major news that would be worth getting shot for.

It was encouraging to see that the evidence base showing pumps and CGM make a difference to diabetes control has grown massively in the last few years, with more and more research results being published – this makes it easier to put together a strong argument for them to be funded. But we all know that’s just the first hurdle – in the UK even when people meet the NICE criteria for pump funding, they’re often refused it. That’s where we patients need to be strong in campaigning.

It was good to talk with our European friends about how laws and experiences differ significantly in countries across Europe. In Italy, companies aren’t allowed to talk to patients about pumps, or even have a picture of them on their website, all communication must go via the Dr. In Holland, people talked about not being able to get their insurance companies to fund new pumps or CGM. Across the board, while the details differed, the common theme seemed to be that we like pumps and CGM, but people are struggling to get hold of them or in some cases, even to know that they exist.

Obligatory group photo, football style in recognition of the Junior Cup event

Obligatory group photo, football style in recognition of the Junior Cup event

And as a mixture of diabetes bloggers and forum administrators we seemed to come to a common conclusion. That we’re motivated to do this because we want people to know what’s out there, what good care looks like and how to get it. We’re all frustrated by the same failings and are plugging away trying to move things forward, a little step at a time. What we struggle with is how to reach the people who are alone and have only their own experiences to measure their care against – how do we spread the word further?

Thanks to Medtronic for organising and funding the meeting – it’s always useful to speak to others about what’s going on in that big bad diabetes world. Here are a selection of the blogs that were represented at the event alongside other forums, tweeters and Facebookers:

Mydiabetesdigital – first digital lifestyle magazine for diabetics (available in English, Dutch, German & French)
Diabetando – Italian diabetes blog – written by the Greek father of a diabetic child (all in Greek, but the flags at the top of the page will translate it into local languages) – you’ll need to know your German for this blog written by Ilke and Finn who both have diabetes

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About Alison

Diagnosed with Type One in 1983 at the age of four, Alison's been at this for a while now. She uses Humalog in a combined insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring system and any blood glucose meter as long as it takes five seconds or less.

3 thoughts on “Medtronic European internet forum 2012

  1. Tim

    Can’t imagine what it must have been like without me there. Horrific, I would imagine.

    Thanks for reporting back @Alison. Any news on a working, finished and ready to market closed loop yet? 😉

    1. Alison Post author

      If I told you I’d have to shoot you. And I wouldn’t be able to shoot straight due to the tears in my eyes caused by the amount we missed you at the event. So for the safety of many, I’ll say nothing.

      1. Tim

        I’ve never been entirely sure the NDA they make us sign is particularly enforceable. You’ll recall I teased poor Yoan about it at the first conference. Ho hum!


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