The inaugural Diabetes Professional Care (DPC) 2015 conference and exhibition was a major success. Clinical scientists right through to pharmacists flocked to the Barbican Exhibition Centre to see how the new event – the UK’s only free-to-attend CPD accredited – would shape up. The overwhelming consensus was that it worked brilliantly and has plugged a major hole in the UK diabetes market.
Punya Liyanage, Health Economy Liaison Manager – Diabetes – Janssen, visiting the show, enthused: “Fantastic to have a free-to-attend show with such a great line-up of speakers providing invaluable content. The atmosphere is great, to have this amount of buzz on the first day is really impressive, especially for a launch show.”
The packed out show, which took place 11 & 12 November 2015, featured seven conference streams with keynotes from Professor Chris Ham, CEO of The Kings Fund; Dr Jim O’Brien the National Programme Director for Diabetes Prevention, Public Health England; Tim Kelsey, National Director for patients and Information at NHS England and Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director at NHS England.
On the first day, Prof. Joan Taylor, Professor of Pharmaceutics, De Montfort University Leicester shared her insights into ‘Developing an implantable artificial pancreas’ for the treatment of insulin dependent diabetes. She remarked: "The implications of getting too much or not enough insulin are very worrying and we currently can't trust the electronic method, after meals, due to delays in the system. I really believe that a closed loop system is the way forward, in order for an artificial pancreas to control and maintain correct insulin levels. My dream is for all diabetes sufferers to be able to eat what they want, without having to think about it an hour beforehand. My team has been brilliant and we will finalise this technology."
Dr Partha Kar, Clinical Director of Diabetes at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, outlined the role social media plays in providing better diabetic care. Cleverley remarked: “People with diabetes online have influenced my recovery. Social media has provided me with a place to connect with peers who I can relate to, which has given me the knowledge and power to cope with diabetes. Patients are no longer waiting for answers from their doctors or clinicians - they are asking online. Although social media hasn’t and won’t replace health care professionals, it is being used by diabetics for self-management.”
Dr Kar agreed: “It’s shaping the future of medical education. So I would encourage people to get involved in social media, whether that’s actively, or just to learn from one another for continuous professional development. But remember don’t post things on social media that you wouldn’t say/do in real life.”
It’s constantly being reported that the rise in UK diabetes threatens to bankrupt the NHS, so appropriately Bob Ricketts, Director of Commissioning Support Services Strategy, at NHS England attended the show to discuss whether ‘Commissioning diabetes – is the NHS’ Achilles heel’. He remarked: “NHS England must take diabetes more seriously. It is crucial that its teams and commissioners know their diabetes population numbers, so it is able to see where improvement is needed and why. It needs to be more ruthless, challenging all of its struggling regions to improve, pushing them forward.”
Keynote session from Tim Kelsey, National Director for patients and Information at NHS England looked at ‘Harnessing the power of the information revolution for patients with diabetes’. He used the analogy of internet banking, that 1998 saw the first online banking service and that now 22 million people within the UK use it. An astonishing revolution that’s liberated the public into becoming experts in the way they manage their own money. Kelsey remarked: “Banks asked us to be clerks and we loved it! It’s changed the population’s behavior and this is what we need in healthcare service, of cause there are huge differences, but it will happen, but we need to make sure it happens in the right way. So the right strategies for people with diabetes can self-care effectively.”
Kelsey highlighted three priorities to enable diabetics to support their own care. Firstly, transparency of data between patients and healthcare services in the use of medical records, sometimes the patient does know best, healthcare providers need to be open to conversation. Secondly participation – empowering people to take control - as of April patients will be able to book an appointment with their GP online and access a summary of their medical records. Thirdly collaboration, enabling the data about each patient to flow across all sectors ensuring that proper patient care is being delivered by the healthcare service.
Running alongside the CPD accredited conferences was an array of workshops presenting real-life case studies and practical sessions. Among them was Adam Hoare, Managing Director at V-Connect, whose workshop focused on ‘The Clinic at Home: Helping Patents to Look After Themselves’. Hoare said: “This technology creates a two-way communication video channel between patients and their care providers using their own televisions, effectively creating remote clinics in home. It means patients can do their own analysis, with coaching from the hospital, collapsing pathways, reducing anxiety for the patient and minimising traffic in terms of letters and attendance at hospitals. It transforms the way they feel supported, the education they receive and their long term care.”
On day two, there was also plenty of show floor ‘theatre’ in the form of a live debate where a panel of experts from Xperio Health; De Montfort University, X-PERT Health and Public Health England discussed the topic ‘Which single intervention will be most effective at tackling the diabetes epidemic in the UK?’
Chairing the debate was Hon Stephen Dorrell, Former Secretary of State for Health and Chair of House of Commons Health Select Committee, with the conclusion being drawn by Roy Lilley, Health Analyst, who said: “We need to think about diabetes care like the self-checkouts we get at supermarkets. Ten years ago when it was introduced, we were taking the onus off the workers and organisation, putting it onto us, the customer. This is what we should be encouraging within the health sector. We need to help diabetes sufferers help themselves. If there is a sufferer that is able to manage their own care, we need to provide the opportunity to enable this to happen, and show them how best to do it. There is no silver bullet at the moment, so we need to pull together in order to handle this epidemic.”
“The live debate was both engaging and entertaining to be part of and, of course, I’m delighted that the patient’s perspective on the vital role of education won the audience vote. The conference as a whole was a huge success and provided a valuable platform in bringing together diabetes professionals, innovators and patients. I look forward to next year’s event,” remarked Jens Birkenheim, Founder of DiabetesCareFinder, an online platform for people with diabetes to find and review local care and support services.
Innovation was clearly at the heart of the show with more than 40 exhibitors showcasing their latest innovations in diabetes prevention and management. Bayer Diabetes Care presented its latest CONTOUR meters, X-PERT Health launched its range of educational visual aids, and Flexitol showcased its innovative ‘Treat and Maintain’ skincare range.
DPC2015 also joined forces with Digital Health Kitchen, led by Professor Nicholas S Peters of London’s Imperial College, where six start-up companies showcased their latest digital health technologies to enable greater self-care. Innovators included Smartsensor Telemed, Slow Control and Proteus Digital Health all demonstrating the benefits emerging technologies can have on health and wellness.
Exhibiting at the show was Paula George, General Manager at Neubourg Pharma who commented: “Our experience of Diabetes Professional Care 2015 has been first class. The footfall of visitors has been more than we could have imagined. It was three deep at one point, and what’s really impressed me is how the show has attracted real, quality leads. A great event; superbly organised and will definitely plan to exhibit next year.”
Also commenting on the success of the show was exhibitor Michael Spiers, Director at Clinical Professionals: “We have found Diabetes Professional Care 2015 to be a refreshing change from other exhibitions and conferences. The show has attracted a fantastic quality of visitor. Everyone who has come to our stand has been interested and clued up on what they want and how we can help. We have also used the show to meet some of our clients in the pharmaceutical and device sectors, to discuss our staffing solutions and in particular, our Graduate Academy, which helps get the very best university talent into these markets. What a great show!”
The Diabetes Village was also a central feature at DPC2015, providing a networking and meeting place for health care professionals and scientists to speak with like-minded individuals who work in the diabetes field to share ideas and information.
Maggie Meer, Founder of DPC2015 concluded: "I have to applaud and thank all the exhibiting companies and partners who trusted and supported us with a launch show, as well as our superb speakers and chairpersons who enabled us to put on such a great conference and workshop programme. We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from all those attending. I would also like to thank The Barbican Exhibition Hall Management Team who were amazing and couldn’t do enough for us all.”
“Now the foundations are in place and we’ve shown the market how our event works, we have a ringing endorsement to do it all again next year, and we have even bigger plans! Next year’s show will be taking place at the iconic London Olympia; not only to allow for the show to grow, but to provide an enhanced exhibitor and visitor experience, providing a bigger, better space and a more accessible venue, but to also facilitate a superior look and feel for the show. We are already deep in planning for 2016, so make sure you stay tuned!”