AADE14 has wrapped up. As I reflect on the meeting, I feel so good about the general session speakers, breakout sessions, the exhibit hall, the 5 K run/walk, and the social events. The Celebration of Giving was a great time! The dance floor was packed! If you didn’t go this year, definitely put it on the schedule for next year.
But, my main reflection for this blog is going to be about, I almost hate to put the words here for fear you will stop reading, the Business Meeting. There was a nice turnout. We didn’t have anything that had to be voted on. So, the meeting agenda focused on getting thoughts from the members about the future of diabetes education/educators and AADE. We have just started work on the 2016-2018 Strategic Plan. You will see more about the process and be able to provide input as the work progresses. The business meeting gave us a chance to hear what diabetes educators think are key trends for our future.
I jotted down notes as the attendees spoke. I am sure some of the trends/comments will resonate with you; others may be things you haven’t thought of. Here are some of the trends put forth:
• We should keep moving forward with our public awareness campaign to increase media exposure highlighting what we do for people with diabetes (PWD). Rather than relying on a healthcare provider to recommend diabetes self-management education and support (DSME/S), let PWD know about what we do so they can ask for a referral (similar to what patients do regarding medications after they read or hear about something new).
• When considering the value of diabetes education/educators, recognition should be given to what we prevent including the onset of diabetes, complications from diabetes, and costs (i.e., to prevent hospital admissions).
• Diabetes education should be at the beginning of the algorithm for care of a person with diabetes; not at the middle or end when problems could have already occurred.
• Diabetes educators are key providers in chronic care; we should brand our profession to be included in the chronic care model.
• Diabetes educators need to be armed with more knowledge on the business of diabetes to help us in the current medical care environment (i.e., Patient-Centered Medical Homes, Accountable Care Organizations, etc.).
• We need to get legislators on our side to push through legislation that will help us in our work with PWD.
• Diabetes educators can collaborate with more money-generating pieces of medical care so we can give quality care to PWD in a team approach (rather than struggling financially on our own and being considered a money-losing part of care).
• We should clarify the levels of the diabetes educator so it is understood by us, healthcare providers, and the public.
• Many people with prediabetes may not appreciate the importance of behavior change to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Perhaps prediabetes should be renamed Stage 1 diabetes to increase the importance of the condition and changes that can be made to prevent progression to DM (Stage 2 diabetes).
• We should look for ways to influence the prevention of type 2 diabetes, from children to adults, with methods that can be accessed by all in need (including those with socio-economic challenges).
• Electronic medical records give challenge and benefit. Diabetes educators should be at the table during the creation of EMRs to improve ease of use and beneficial data output.
• There are not enough diabetes educators to meet the needs of all PWD that could benefit from DSME/S. We need to get the word out about diabetes education in academic programs and to current healthcare providers that might be interested in becoming diabetes educators. At the same time, we need to increase the public’s knowledge of how we can help, increasing referrals to prevent closing of programs (and back to the knowledge about the business of DSME/S).
What great ideas! Can you think of other trends that should be shaping our future as we move forward in the creation of AADE’s Strategic Plan for 2016-2018?