The Diabetes UK Professional Conference – Time to take control

By Editor
10th March 2015
Latest news, Ninjabetic

“After bouncing off stage I let out a huge sigh of relief. I looked around and saw faces staring at me, smiling at me, nodding and clapping… It was a very surreal moment, but one that will stay in my mind forever.” 

I wrote this last year after delivering a presentation at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference about the Diabetes Online Community. I was able to provide an insight into what online support has to offer patients, their families and carers, and touching on how healthcare professionals (HCPs) could introduce it to their patients.

The audience was comprised mostly of HCPs, which gave me perhaps the biggest opportunity I’ve had to get my message across to those who can reach wide groups of patients. Social media may not be the biggest player when it comes to improving diabetes care, but you can’t deny that it has become a key influence for thousands of patients in the UK, if you want to find out for yourself then go online and listen to what they’re saying.

This week I have travelled to London, once again, for the Diabetes UK Professional Conference, this year titled ‘Time to Take Control’. My opportunity came about six months ago when I was asked to deliver a presentation titled ‘Social media – The missing part of my diabetes treatment’. This in itself was how I, as a patient who had previously hidden from her diabetes for 10 years, had taken control. I became responsible for my treatments, my health and ultimately my outcomes. This is the key message that I hope to get across at this year’s conference – that social media was a crucial tool in assisting me in regaining control of my diabetes.

My part at the conference, in the grand scheme of things, is actually quite small, meaning that what I will contribute to the discussion needs to be big – it needs to make an impact and ensure that discussions remain patient focused. It is always a great honour to be asked to attend and present at this conference but I know that telling a story about my journey with diabetes isn’t enough anymore, I need to show people that someone who was once was a patient that felt scared and alone in her life with diabetes is now empowered and knowledgeable and is able to contribute to the discussion alongside health care professionals. I need to show them that year on year social media is contributing to improving people’s lives with diabetes.

This year’s presentation also brings together more pieces of the puzzle – this time I won’t be alone on stage, but I will be talking alongside three other active social media users who will be sharing their professional experiences of diabetes and social media. Personally I think this provides a very powerful message – HCPs are willing and able to work together with patients and share an online space in order to improve the patient experience, to produce better outcomes and to assist patients in taking control.

Hopefully soon we’ll see what comes from the patient contribution at the Diabetes UK Professional Conference.

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