As my readers may know, my name is Scott Strumello, and I'm the publisher, author, editor-in-chief, CEO, as well as chief cook and bottle washer of "Scott's Web Log". For those of you who were NOT aware of it, when I re-designed my blog in February 2011 (actually, the work began a while earlier, but that's when I launched the new look), I more prominently featured my "Disclosure" statement which had been around for a while, although I never exactly promoted this fact.
Note that in the right-hand margin under the heading of "Recognition" (I really should find a new heading for the items in this section, but until I do, that's where the primary link to my disclosure is found). Just look for the blue button with a red check-mark and the text "I Disclose" to read my disclosure policy (just use your mouse over that button and click on it), or for a more direct route, simply visit http://disclose.sstrumello.com/.
Medtronic's European Social Media Conference
Now, although this is Medtronic's first such event here in North America, evidently they held a similar event in Europe a few weeks ago, and held another one a year earlier in Medtronic Diabetes Care's location in Geneva, Switzerland (or as Put Up or Shoot Up's Tim Brown referred to it "Medtronic's Swiss Lair"). My North American peers may be interested to read some of the writing about the 2010 Medtronic Europe event at the following blog links:
A post from last year's event can be viewed at:
As you might infer from these posts (including an inside joke about drowning puppies in Lake Geneva), in much the same way as many of us in North America have bonded at other meet-ups, apparently, so have our counterparts "across the pond" as more than a few UK residents are fond of saying. Maybe we can compare notes, and perhaps ... someday, someone will decide to arrange a diabetes social media event in Reykjavik, Iceland, which is about the same distance from New York as it is from London? One can wish, can't they?!
I should note that among my fellow North American diabetes blogger peers, I may one of a few odd-men out because I do not presently wear an insulin pump (along with Bennet Dunlap, of "Your Diabetes May Vary ['YDMV']"), who's a parent of no-longer-children with diabetes -- hey, it happens!), although I'm certainly no stranger to insulin pumps. Then, Tom Karlaya (whose children are also blessed with type 1 diabetes) will also be joining us, so not everyone there will be tethered to pumps. I don't believe they are seeking that, what they want is to gain a wider perspective for the diabetes community at large.
I can best be described as a "former pump-wearer" (I blogged a bit about that HERE) with a competitor, no less. The reasons are varied, and my d-blogging peers sometimes respond to that with disbelief. Although I don't want to make this post about why I went back to multiple daily injections, but I can say that durable medical equipment limits with my insurance played a role (at the time), but also the fact that more than 90% of my total daily dosage is prandial insulin and that my basal rates were essentially unchanged throughout the day except for the few hours before I wake up, and I can truthfully say that my glycemic management did not suffer at all since returning to MDI.
I'm not unwilling to re-consider a pump, but most likely not one of Medtronic's present line-up because I'm not a fan of pumps with tubing. That, incidentally, seems to be a family trait, as my older sister with type 1, who by-the-way, avoided a pump for longer than I did -- 41 years by my calculations, but that all changed after at Diabetes Research Institute's Diabetes 2.0 Conference my sister attended with me and a few other d-bloggers. She started wearing a pump for the first time around Chistmas 2009, and has been pretty happy with her tube-less Omnipod since then, but this conversation is digressing, so back to the point: disclosure.
As I note in my disclosure policy, unlike some bloggers, I do not now, nor have I ever, actively solicit what is euphemistically referred to in some blogging circles as "blog-ola" (various free stuff targeted towards bloggers), nor have I traditionally made it easy for commercial entities (or individuals) to reach me. The most enterprising individuals did leave comments which worked, but it wasn't as easy as clicking on my profile. In fact, even today, I still do not publish my personal e-mail address anywhere online. As I noted above, since I redesigned Scott's Web Log in February, I have added a new "e-mail me" button which utilizes a third-party contact service which can also be accessed by visiting http://kontactr.com/user/sstrumello as a way to connect with my readers without actually publishing my personal contact information online. That's been great, but don't waste your time trying to find my e-mail online because it's not out there -- and that's by design.
Beyond that, I also wish to disclose that Roche Diabetes Care has also invited me to a Conference they'll be holding in San Diego, CA from June 22 through the morning of June 24, 2011, although I have not yet determined whether I will be able to attend. That happens to be where the ADA's Annual Scientific Sessions meeting is also being held this year. In the event that I DO attend, Roche would be paying for my travel, lodging and food at this event, but it's not completely free -- I would still have to use my personal vacation days to participate in this event (although a trip to enjoy some of the awesome San Diego weather will be worth it!). Roche invited me to a similar event held last year, and also the prior summer, and I have also participated (voluntarily) in a social media advisory board that Roche seeks patient input on. Truthfully, I believe the company has listened to at least a few of our suggestions. For example, in the Accu Chek television spots, Roche now promotes the inclusion a discount card that enables patients to obtain test strips for as little as $15, which was a huge discussion at their first meeting in Indianapolis a few years ago.
Now, I have not been shy about which testing supplies I use (see HERE, although it took me a while to exhaust my OneTouch Ultra strip supply, and now I have a few left that I am trialling with a new Android application. But the reality is that few patients actually choose which meters and test strips they will use; this stuff is frequently chosen or heavily influenced by insurance company formularies and complex pricing strategies deployed, and the brand I use today could change overnight if my employer chooses a new healthcare provider (again), so consider the context that such decisions are made within.
Then again, I was previously a fan of Roche's infusion sets when I wore a pump (although at the time, Roche had not yet acquired the Swiss firm formerly known as Disetronic whose Ultraflex set was my infusion set of choice when I used to actually wear an insulin pump).
So, while I look forward to seeing at least a few of my fellow diabetes advocates/bloggers in L.A. and I hope it proves to be a productive meeting for all parties involved, just know that there's a much larger community out there as our Euro D-Bloggers out there can attest, not to mention the Australia-New Zealand (Oceania?) group, too. But with each meeting, more contacts are established which expand this virtual community in a way that online interactions cannot.
I can only hope my readers will see this perspective the same way!