This summer’s big annual meeting of the AADE (American Association of Diabetes Educators) was held in steamy-hot Houston. As usual, some of the smaller booths on the perimeter of the expo floor produced some “aha moments.” In particular, we found a handful of items you might really want to know about.

First, we should mention what was big on the official conference program this year: Peer Support, Clinical Support of Technology, Access, and Hypoglycemia (given Eli Lilly’s new emergency glucagon Baqsimi and Xeris’ product under development).

Entirely new this year were: a Peer Support Communities Pavilion on the expo floor (where DiabetesMine was privileged to have a booth), and a new presentation track on “Inclusive Diabetes Care.” The latter included sessions focused on “populations that are underrepresented in typical diabetes care,” AADE19 program chair Lorena Drago explains. That meant sessions on working with hearing impaired patients, LGBTQ people with diabetes, low tech-savvy and underserved communities and more.

You can check out the full event program here.

Diabetes Educators got a new name, announced at this year’s annual meeting!

Read all about the new title DCES (Diabetes Education and Care Specialists)

As seen on the #AADE19 expo floor:

Tiny Droplet Pen Needles

At 34G thickness, new Droplet needles are the thinnest and shortest insulin pen needle ever – the smallest on the planet! (so they say).

Remember that with needle girth, the larger the number, the smaller the needle. Most of us currently use needles in the range of 29-32G, translating to between 12mm and 4mm thickness. But the newest Droplet ultra-thin needles coming soon from Poland-based HTL-STREFAare just 0.23mm thick. They also feature an electro-polished surface to avoid bruising, scarring or lipohypertrophy.

They will be available online from various vendors soon, for prices equivalent to the company’s current needles (circa $9.99 for a box of 100). Or to tap insurance coverage, you can ask your doctor for a prescription, of course.

New ReliOn Glucose Meter

The new ReliOn Premier CLASSIC meter will be launching soon at Walmart. At the AADE expo, the discount chain giant was showing off its low-cost family of diabetes products, with special attention to this new meter that will work with their affordable Premier test strips.

The CLASSIC will be a basic version with “premium accuracy” that connects to Walmart’s ReliOn Life blood sugar tracking app. The meter will retail for $9 at Walmart stores and online, and the test strips are just $9 for 50-count.

Snazzy Diabetes Device Patches

Sugar Patch is a Southern California-based outfit that sells plain and decorative adhesive patches for Dexcom and Medtronic CGMs, and the Omnipod and other insulin pump infusion sites.

Founder Ashley Bagwell, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 15 in 1983, explains on the website: “After using these great tools for controlling blood sugar levels since 2015, I have come to realize that we need better adhesive to keep these things attached, saving us money, and saving us from having some real issues when they do come off unexpectedly. I also realized that I don’t always want my pump or CGM to look so ‘medical’.”

She created The Sugar Patch(es) with medical-grade hypoallergenic nonwoven Spunlace Polyester Tape to assure they are easy to apply, breathable, lightweight, and comfortable to wear.

Prices range from $2 to $20 for a set of 10 or more, depending on the model and style.

Insulin Injection Aids

Inject-Ease, Insul-Eze and InsulCap are made by Northern California-based AmbiMedInc. Although not entirely new, these are great tools for older PWDs (people with diabetes), or anyone with vision or mobility/dexterity challenges:

Inject-Ease is a “new and improved syringe magnifier, enabling easy syringe loading.”

The company explains: “Simply place your loaded syringe in the Inject Ease, place the tip against your skin, and press the button to automatically deliver the needle through the skin. You control the rate at which the medicine is injected. The special tip is designed to reduce the sensation of pain at injection.”

Of course, making injections easier helps reduce anxiety. The company boasts that an independent clinical study showed that 91.6% of participants reported less fear of injections when using this product.

It’s also compatible with pre-filled Humira syringes for treating rheumatoid arthritis, btw.

Prices vary when you search online, but seem to hover around $36.

Insul-Eze goes a step further for PWDs – designed specifically to fit insulin vials.

It’s a “sturdy one-piece syringe magnifier that holds the syringe and insulin bottle in place while magnifying 2x for easy viewing of the syringe markings.”

“The insulin bottle securely snaps into place then the syringe drops in the channel, effortlessly aligning the needle for insertion into the bottle. The magnifier, syringe and bottle are secure for easy loading and viewing.”

Here’s a handy FAQ about how to use Insul-Eze. This one appears to sell for $25 on Amazon.

InsulCap is an even simpler solution. It’s literally a small plastic cap that you snap onto the top of your insulin vial. The plastic “needle guide” helps direct the syringe when loading it with insulin – “saving you the frustration of broken needles caused by misalignment.”

You can pick up a set of 2 of these for $10 on Amazon.

Diabetes Emergency Prep

Check out My Diabetes Emergency Plan. With Hurricane Dorian bearing down, it’s a good time to be reminded of this resource. It’s a helpful downloadable emergency list in sticker format, that you can stick right onto the side of your emergency supplies tub. Also on their website you can view a step-by-step video demonstration of how to put your kit together, in English and Spanish.

This program was created by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), with funding from Lilly Diabetes.

Prescription Med Affordability Help

The AACE, along with the American College of Endocrinology, has also created an online hub with easy-reference information to Patient Assistance Programs, for financial help affording medications: AACE Prescription Affordability Resource Center.

The site includes a comprehensive directory of hotline numbers to call, by medication name, and a helpful glossary of common health insurance terms – as well as a list of patient advocacy orgs that may be able to help you further if you’re in need. Who knew AACE was up to all this? Thank you, Docs.

And thank you AADE, for bringing all these resources to light.