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BD Thought Leaders Event – 2016 Highlights

By August 31, 2016Fresh Air Blog

Words by Heather Gomez and Jen Hanson | Images by Mike Last

Earlier this month, BD hosted a group of people from the American and Canadian Type 1 communities at their San Diego office for the 2016 BD Thought Leader Event.  We had the opportunity to learn more about the people and purpose behind the BD logo, and some of the new research and technology they are working to make available to people with Type 1 diabetes.  We also got to know some of the science and design behind the MiniMed Pro-set with BD FlowSmart Technology, soon to be released in Canada. (More on how to get your hands on it, here!)

(Disclaimer: BD paid for flights, accommodation and food for this 1-day advocacy event.)

Here is what we learned:

Learning #1:

Small changes can make a big difference to your blood sugars.

I would feel safe guessing that most of us (myself included!) don’t give much thought to the syringes, pen needle tips, or infusion sites we choose when it comes to our overallType 1 diabetes management.  Aside from comfort and ease of use, I don’t tend to acknowledge the vital role that they play in my “diabetes toolbox”, or the importance of choosing and using them properly.  The team at BD provided some valuable reminders about infusion and injection-related issues that can have significant, and immediate, effects on our blood sugars:

Insulin Absorption

Did you know that insulin is supposed to be injected into the layer of fat just below the skin?  This subcutaneous fat is the tissue in which insulin is absorbed at the most steady and predictable rate.  If you inject too deep, you may hit muscle tissue, where insulin absorption can be much faster than in fat.  Of course, this can result in a lot more low blood sugars than usual!  On the other end of the spectrum, injecting into areas where lipohypertrophy has taken place (extra fat that has accumulated at an injection site) can result in decreased insulin absorption, and possibly more high blood sugars than usual. (What’s lipohypertrophy, you ask? Take a minute to check out this sweet video that Hank put together at Winter Slipstream.) Two small changes can help to reduce the unpredictability of the absorption of your insulin.

First, choose the appropriate needle length. The latest research shows that the best needle length to avoid injecting directly into your muscles are 4mm, 5mm, 6mm or 8mm (and no longer than this – but why would you want to go longer than this, anyway – I mean, have you SEEN a 12mm needle before?!) You can learn more about selecting your needle length, here. (Or, by talking to your CDE!)resourceSecond, make sure you are regularly rotating your injection sites to prevent lipohypertrophy.  Need some help?  Check out some suggestions from BD and download a Site Rotation Template here.

If you’re REALLY interested in learning more about injection technique and the research that goes into the development of the needles we use, check out these Recommendations for Best Practices in Injection Technique.

Insulin Delivery

If you use an insulin pump, you have more than likely dealt with a bent cannula and the havoc it can wreak when the flow of insulin becomes blocked.  For me, I find certain infusion sets do this more than others when I insert them.  The new Pro-Set addresses this issue with a very unique approach.  When designing the set, BD added a second hole in the side of the cannula so that if the tip becomes blocked or bent, insulin will still be reliably delivered.  I found it so interesting that such a seemingly small change has the potential to prevent hours of discomfort and troubleshooting related to “unexplained” high blood sugars.

If you use an insulin pump, you have more than likely dealt with a bent cannula and the havoc it can wreak when the flow of insulin becomes blocked.  For me, I find certain infusion sets do this more than others when I insert them.  The new Pro-Set addresses this issue with a very unique approach.  When designing the set, BD added a second hole in the side of the cannula so that if the tip becomes blocked or bent, insulin will still be reliably delivered.  I found it so interesting that such a seemingly small change has the potential to prevent hours of discomfort and troubleshooting related to “unexplained” high blood sugars.

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Learning #2:

Individual preferences are an important part of the experience.

 

Of all of us who attended the Thought Leader event, I am almost certain that there weren’t even two people who used identical tools and strategies to manage their diabetes.  From pumps, injections, meters, lancets, and even phone apps, every individual had their own preferences that fit best with their goals and lifestyle.  It was no surprise that infusion sets were a very personal choice too!

The BD team conveyed to us how important it was to meet many individual comfort and  preferences when designing the new infusion set, without compromising its efficacy.  There were a few features of the new infusion set that really stuck out to me:

  • the ability to clip in the tubing end at multiple positions to accommodate where you are wearing your pump
  • the ability to use the infusion site with more than just one brand of pump
  • the fact that the site is made of silicon – no more hard plastic rubbing and tugging on my skin

Logos

Learning #3:

Our input and feedback are crucial to diabetes innovation.

 

The team at BD didn’t just invite us down to TELL us about new research and products, they also wanted to ASK us for our honest feedback and suggestions.  What works?  What doesn’t work?  What is most important to us?  Of course, our group was only a small representation of the larger diabetes community in the U.S. and Canada, so BD also wanted to know how they can connect with YOU, the many others who live with diabetes everyday.  It’s so important to remember that YOU are a valuable part of the process of developing new technology for all people with diabetes.

BD wants to provide more opportunities to interact with them about new research, diabetes innovations, and your own personal diabetes experience.  Our group suggested more interaction on social media, including live Q&A sessions on platforms like Twitter or Facebook, where we can ask about product features, give immediate feedback about our experiences, or troubleshoot any issues we are having.  If you haven’t yet, check out one of the BD Diabetes Innovations Facebook pages (U.S. page or Canadian page) and join the conversation!  Your input can help shape the future of diabetes care. You can also leave your ideas and thoughts in the comments section below – We’ll be passing them directly onto BD. What would make YOU want to engage?

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Learning #4:

How can we get our hands on this technology?

 

Wait – BD distributing infusions sets? That would be new! You’re right. And it’s not happening. BD has been working hard to develop the technology behind FlowSmart, but they won’t be the ones getting it into your hands. For that, you’ll have to look to the team at Medtronic. Medtronic has come on board to market the new pump sites, which will be called the Pro-Set. You probably got an inclining that that was happening when you saw the Medtronic name mentioned in the first paragraph.

But wait. Again. Didn’t you say that this pump site can be used with MANY pumps? We did! Just because Medtronic is distributing it, doesn’t meant that it won’t work with your Animas Vibe, or your Tandem T-Slim. It will! You’ll just have to work with a new system when ordering them. There have been many Pros and Cons discussed in the community when it comes to this relationship, but regardless of what pump you’re currently using, we hope that this won’t keep you from considering your options when it comes to infusion technology.

In fact, keep your eyes peeled. The CIM Team is working on a Diabetes Life Hacks section of our blog, which we’ll kick off with a How To Guide focusing on reaching 1,000,000 Shoppers Optimum Points – Especially exciting news if you live in Canada!

 

At the end of the day, if your current infusion set isn’t working well for you, or you’re someone who likes to stay up with all that is new and exciting, it is worth checking out the different options that are available, there is sure to be a good fit out there!  If you want to know more about the new MiniMed Pro-set with BD FlowSmart Technology, or sign up to receive updates about its coming release in Canada, let BD know, here

BD Diabetes Thought Leader Event Group Photo 2

Thank you to the team at BD for including us Canadians as Thought Leaders – We were excited to learn more, to have our voices heard, and to connect with the global diabetes community.

Read more about what our fellow advocates had to say about the event:

#BDThoughtLeaders – Kayla’s Life Notes by Kayla Brown

Insulin Infusion Tech Gets a Shot in the Arm – Healthline by Diabetes Mine

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