What made the annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) in Philadelphia last week an extra special experience this year? Social media did, of course! That's because for the first time ever, members of the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) attended en force, and a special broadcast of the weekly DSMA Live radio show was hosted live from a packed room of about 50 people at the downtown Philly Marriott, where attending bloggers were joined by engaged Pharma folk and healthcare providers.DSMA at AADE The event was hosted by Roche Diabetes.

On top of that, I had the privilege of joining Manny Hernandez of the Diabetes Hands Foundation, David Edelman of Diabetes Daily and CDE and author Hope Warshaw to once again present to CDEs about the value of social media. This year, we actually held a three-hour pre-meeting instructional workshop on Wednesday that drew a great crowd of enthusiastic educators. Woot!

Meanwhile, you can review a lot of the conference action by checking out the hashtags #AADE13 and #AADE13genius (our social media session, and by checking out AADE's Facebook page.

I wasn't present for the entire conference this year, so didn't catch everything personally, but here's what was new at AADE 2013 from my perspective (in bullet-list form, because that's how we social media types roll, right?):



AADE13 Philadelphia

Innovation 2015



Meeting Buzz and X-ing Paula Deen

* The crowd felt a little thinner this year than usual, with just about 2,500 CDEs in attendance, according to an AADE spokeswoman. With another ~1,000 folks there from the exhibitor side, total attendance was roughly 3,500.gary scheiner AADE

* Our friend and extraordinary CDE Gary Scheiner was named Diabetes Educator of the Year. Congrats, Gary! Well-deserved!!

* There were inspiring keynote speeches by D-cycling hero Phil Southerland, Stanford's behavior change guru BJ Fogg, and Dr. Arya Sharma on the obesity problem. Thank the Lord that AADE and Novo Nordisk had the decency to cut Southern-butter-chef-cum-diabetes-spokeswoman Paula Deen from the program, in the wake of her hugely inappropriate and embarrassing racial remarks of late. Her planned keynote talk was reassigned at the last minute to Belleruth Napastek, a holistic medicine expert with an uncanny resemblance to Ms. Deen, at least in her speaker's headshot. I didn't catch the speech, but whatever it was, I'm sure it topped listening to little 'ol Paula's sticky sweet hypocrisy, IMHO.

Belleurth Naparstek AADE

* Thankfully, the High-Fructose Corn Syrup booth was NOT present this year; kudos to AADE for that, after last year's ruckus. However, the Cinsulin booth was quite centrally located, and getting a lot of traffic.

* Reps in several booths were bantering about a new buzzword: "over-basaled." This apparently refers mostly to type 2s on insulin whose providers "over-rely on basal insulin to force the A1C to goal levels" and skimp on bolus dosing. Anyone familiar with this issue?

* I heard some excited chatter about Brandy Barnes of Diabetes Sisters and Kelly Close of Close Concerns collaborating on a new diabetes kids' book, which the ADA may or may not be the publisher of. That is, Brandy's and Kelly's daughters will be working on this one together. Topic: sleepovers with type 1 diabetes. Can't wait to hear more! (sometime next year)

* Some extremely sad news I heard was about the recent death of Duane Roth, CEO of San Diego CONNECT, a not-for-profit organization that encourages technology entrepreneurs. He was apparently a dynamo in the San Diego business community with a passion for wireless health technology and "placing the patient early in the FDA process." He died from head injuries in a bicycling accident.

Meter/ CGM / App Updates

* OneTouch was showing off the new VerioSync, which was FDA approved last February but not on the market yet. This meter will send your BG results directly to its new iPhone app called OneTouch Reveal, which was approved by the FDA in March. It's unclear what the hold-up is on getting this product out. All I can say is that it looked really nice in an iPad demo in the company's booth. You can easily track insulin doses and exercise, etc., alongside uploaded glucose data. And no need to worry about the meter and phone staying close to each other constantly, as the VerioSync will live up to its name and automatically synch to the app whenever the devices get back within 10 feet of each other. The only detail I could squeeze out of reps was that the system will cost under $50 when it comes to market early next year (!)





VerioSync iPhone app OneTouch Reveal



* Dexcom was displaying its exciting new Dexcom Share system for remote CGM monitoring under glass. No kidding — under glass! — because it's not yet FDA approved, although they've now announced that an FDA submission was made for this product last month. The Share is just about the coolest advancement I've heard of since the Omnipod! (disclosure: I'm an OP fan-girl). Share is a little docking station that will transmit your CGM data in real-time to up to FIVE different smartphones anywhere in the world! Imagine, my hubby could be watching my glucose curves from Europe while I'm at home in California! And once Dexcom gets its pediatric clearance from FDA (fingers crossed), this will be a Godsend to D-parents. See our earlier coverage about how Share blows MySentry out of the water.


* MyDiabetesHome — this is a new platform that's literally a labor of love by endocrinologist Anuj Bhargava, founder of the Iowa Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (IDERC). He's spent the last seven years championing this platform and launching a site and app called MedSimple, that's the most comprehensive system available for recording, tracking and monitoring your medications all in one place. You can set alarms to remind you to MyDiabetesHomereorder specific meds, and even access coupons to things like Apidra right on the app. The broader MyDiabetesHome platform encompasses MedSimple in a dashboard that includes "MyNumbers" for tracking A1C, blood pressure and other lab results; "MySugars" for tracking daily glucose levels; and "MyVisits" for preparing for your next doctor's appointment. Upside: MyVisits helps you create an excellent 2-page overview of your recent health parameters to take with you to your doctor, saving you both a lot of time and effort in recounting everything! Downside: MySugars logbook requires manual data entry, which I told Dr. Bhargava seemed to me like "app killer." If they can work with a solution like Glooko to offer automated data uploading, they'd really have something here. Meanwhile, they're testing the system at IDERC and you can register to try out the MyDiabetesHome platform for free here.


Cool Tools


* Emergensee — these are crazy-looking glasses that can replace any prescription in a pinch. They were developed by a team of innovators collaborating between Tokyo, Japan, Hong Kong and Boston, and already won a number of prestigious design awards despite having just Emergensee Glasseslaunched. They seem to work kind of like those experimental lenses at the optometrist's office, where two layers of lenses are juxtaposed over each other and you turn a little dial next to each eye to try different combinations until you hit the sharpest focus for each eye. They're not meant to be worn long-term, but to be readily available if you lose or break your glasses, "and for the diabetic patient who may have variably unfocused eyesight." These are being rolled out at optometrists and opthamologists offices around the country, and you can also buy a pair online for $55.


* Zamzee is like a FitBit for kids, aimed specifically at encouraging ages 8-14 to get more physically active. It's a little activity monitor device, paired with an online site offering "a gamified web experience" where kids can earn prizes including school supplies and retail gift cards for keeping up their activity levels. There's also "family engagement" on the site, with a feature for setting up a family account. The system costs about $30 per child, butzamzee it's not a commercial venture. Rather, it was created by HopeLab, a nonprofit research organization that "uses the power and appeal of technology to improve the health of kids" and is being rolled out at clinics across the country as a public health project. "Age 11 is when kids typically fall out of exercise, so we want to catch them before that and keep them engaged in their health," director of strategic alliances Ron Glotzer told me, when we chatted at Zamzee's AADE booth.

* PowerIce is new kind of frozen power-booster for athletes, also being marketed as a hip Powericeand healthy replacement for those popsicle ice chips they give you in the hospital when you're recovering from surgery. PowerIce is packed with electrolytes, so whether you're pounding a bike up a mountain or waking up from a C-section, you're getting much more than just refreshing cold liquid sugar, including 17mg of potassium and 25mg of sodium "that helps maintain the body's fluid balance." It looks like a kids' juice pop and tastes — to my palette — like frozen chunks of Gatorade. Yum.

* Dex4 was showing off its new packaging, plus a new flavor of fast-acting liquid glucose: Concord Grape. The packaging upgrade is overdue, IMHO, because they've finally done away with that impenetrable plastic sealing around the top of their products that basically made it impossible for anyone suffering from hypoglycemia to "break in" to their rescue product. The liquid shots now have turn-and-snap-off tops, while the glucose tab cylinders have a perforated area on the plastic sealant that makes it easier to pull off (we hope!) They've also come out with little packets of four tabs that are resealable - yay! - so you could keep them in a purse or pocket and use as needed. These come in four new tropical flavors.


Dex4 Liquid Glucose





* This year, AADE was offering a free HealthSlate Tablet to every member attending the conference — thousands of them! — which seemed like a big deal to me, so I went over to the booth to check it out. Turns out AADE has been working with medical educationAADE HealthSlate company AtoZHealth based in Florida for several years now. AtoZ has created a series of videos on talking with patients about everything from portion sizes to CGM, along with patient educational quizzes, medication listings, and a bunch of other "teaching aids" for diabetes treatments and products. The two organizations are collaborating to make these tablet computers available to all AADE members as a free membership benefit, loaded up with AADE's own educational guidelines, along with all the latest and greatest from AtoZHealth.

The tablets will connect to the internet for the sole purpose of receiving updated content (you can't use them to check email or surf the web). This appears to be a pretty helpful contemporary tool for educators to have their hands on — and when the company asked in its booth presentation if anyone had suggestions for additional useful content, Yours Truly had an idea: what about recognizing the DOC? I'm talking with the company now about including a module explaining online patient communities and support, and featuring the DiabetesAdvocates group as a place to send patients to get started — because hey, healthcare providers are finally embracing us, right?


{More coverage from AADE 2013 to come}

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