OPEN at ATTD 2020

Some members of the OPEN team had the chance to attend the 13th International Conference on Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes (ATTD), which took place in Madrid from 19th until 22nd February.

Over the last decade, remarkable changes in the development and use of new technologies for people with diabetes (PwD) have been achieved. Main topics of this year’s conference were decision support systems, new CGM devices, open- and closed loop systems and automated insulin delivery (AID). OPEN met interesting people, kept up to date about the latest technological developments and experimented with new devices at the technology fair. The ATTD programme was simply overwhelming, so here is a selection of our personal highlights of the conference:

1. #docday°

Due to an increasingly strict regulatory framework, it is becoming more and more difficult for independent patient advocates to attend conferences such as ATTD. For this reason, Bastian Hauck has created the #dedoc° voices programme, which provided 20 patient advocates with the opportunity to attend, network and keep up to date with the latest innovations in diabetes technology at the congress in Madrid, including the conference sessions and technology fair.

The participants of #dedoc° voices presented their ambitious projects, e.g. Paul Louis talked about his engagement in Madagascar and Jazz Sethi about her educational work for the Indian population with diabetes.

OPEN project manager Hanne Ballhausen and project coordinator Shane O´Donnell used the opportunity at #docday° to give a short introduction to the previous work and future objectives of the OPEN consortium.

If you got intrigued from these first insights, you will find the complete #docday° on video: 

2. JDRF Session

An Open-Protocol Automated Insulin Delivery Ecosystem Is Coming: What Does This Mean for People with Type-1-Diabetes?

The focus of this session was the JDRF’s initiative encouraging manufacturers to provide “open protocol” devices for automated insulin delivery (AID) consisting of a CGM, an insulin pump and an algorithm. Ultimately, this will drive a more personalized approach in diabetes therapy by allowing users to mix and match products from different companies according to their specific needs.

Under the chairmanship of Daniel Finan from JDRF, the development of interoperable systems was discussed from several perspectives, such as from:

  • a PwD (Ryan Gutzmer)
  • a psychologist (Jess J. Wong)
  • the FDA (Courtney H. Lias)
  • industry (Erik Huneker, Patrick Weydt) and
  • independent innovators (Katie DiSimone, Adrian Tappe)

Adrian Tappe, developer of AndroidAPS and tech expert in the OPEN consortium, answered questions about interoperability in the panel from the perspective of an independent innovator.

3. Social Media – What Works and What Does Not?

Although ATTD´s focus is on diabetes technology, social media and language were also discussed.
Renza Scibilia and Chris Aldred (aka The Grumpy Pumper) recommend to use respectful language without blaming when talking about complications. Their engagement on social media is mostly linked to the hashtags #LanguageMatters, #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs and #TalkAboutComplications.

4. Access Issues in Diabetes Technology

The Case of Do-it-Yourself Artificial Pancreas Systems

Shane O’Donnell, the scientific coordinator of the OPEN consortium, presented results from the DIWHY survey that examined the motivations, barriers and retention factors of 1058 DIYAPS users from 34 countries.

While assessing the requisite components and technical challenges reveal the major issues for the set-up of a DIYAPS, peer support and advice – both online and in person – help to overcome these barriers and are a major source of empowerment for the challenges in everyday therapy for PwD.

5. OPEN Poster

Detailing the Lived Experiences of People with Diabetes Using Do-it-Yourself Artificial Pancreas Systems – Qualitative Analysis of Responses to Open‑Ended Items in an International Survey

Bryan Cleal, in collaboration with the OPEN consortium, created a poster summarizing the qualitative results of the open-ended questions of the DIWHY-survey.

The participants were posed two open-ended questions that captured the knowledge acquisition, decision making, support and emotional aspects in the initiation of DIYAPS, the perceived changes in clinical and quality of life outcomes after initiation and the difficulties encountered in the process.

The thematic content analysis of the >600 responses extracted the following key points:

  • The diabetes online community was a primary source of practical and emotional support for many study participants.
  • Dramatic improvements in clinical and quality of life outcomes were consistently reported.
  • The emotional impact was overwhelmingly positive, with participants emphasizing that the persistent presence of diabetes in everyday life was markedly reduced.
  • The Acquisition of the requisite devices to initiate DIYAPS was sometimes problematic. Some people find it technically challenging to build the system.
  • Overcoming these challenges leaves people with a sense of accomplishment and, in some cases, improved levels of understanding and commitment to diabetes management. 

OPEN is looking forward to seeing you at the next ATTD Conference, which will be from 17 – 20 February 2021 in Paris.

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