April 3, 2012

Sara's Message on Fairness, Disclosure and #MedtronicDAF

I again had the privilege of joining a number of other Diabetes Online Community writers as a participant in Medtronic's Diabetes Advocates Forum last Friday. Our host, Medtronic paid for travel, room and fed us for the time we were in LA. They did not ask us to make any specific comments or any comments at all.

They presented topics including their sensing program, work towards and artificial pancreas, MySentry, a Build-a-Bear Lenny the Lion (that we responded to a lot more than apparently the internal staff at Medtronic though we would,) presented a book and talk about Better by Chuck Eichten and gave us some time to talk about what was important to us as diabetes advocates.

I hope that we listened attentively and questioned with the passion of people who appreciate progress made, but are still impatient and passionate about better diabetes care. I don't know how or why I was chosen to receive an invitation. The T1D's in our household are not Medtronic customers. The choice of what pump, if any, my kids wear, if any, is theirs alone. I have reviewed some Medtronic initiatives one of which I had given me some real concerns. The issue was about the Lenny the Lion iPhone app and an initial version that collected email from potentially little kids. To their credit they changed the app which I still never reviewed.

One of the conversations that I had with other DOC folks was about sharing our strengths and not repeating or competing with others in the DOC. My good friend Sara writes on Moments of Wonderful that the privilege of attending these events giver her a feeling that it is unfair. I can not equal Sara's eloquent consideration of the matter and strongly encourage you to read her post.* Particularly as this year Medtronic has offered a trial use of the MySentry product. Medtronic wants honest and thoughtful feed back. If one of my kids is willing to wear the sensors, I hope that our household can again provide feedback that is useful to future users.

I hope that the group of DOC writers who participated collectively can have an impact on the development of Medtronic products that benefits all future patients. To the extent that we can represent other effectively hopefully there is a balance in our participation that addresses the question Sara raises about fairness.

I believe that those who sponsor these events appreciate honest feed back. That is one thing I am good at.  Very many over the course of my life have said too good at. I hope that I am a honest, thoughtful and at time both funny and forceful advocate for people and families living with diabetes. I think that type 1 household have a unique ability to appreciate the balance of disparate things, like say carbs, exercise and insulin. Maybe advocates and industry can have a similar relationship. If so then on balance I hope my participation can be fair.

*Kim also has wonderful comments on TextingMyPancreas.

Other YDMV Posts on MedtronicDAF
See last years post disclosure

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