Is all that glitters really gold?

Prof Jane Speight speaks at ADATS about the psychological impact of new technologies.


The inaugural Australasian Diabetes Advancements and Technologies Summit (ADATS) was held in Sydney on Friday 20 October. This is an important new initiative from the National Association of Diabetes Centres (NADC), the first dedicated conference in Australia focused on bringing the latest technologies into modern diabetes care. The day kicked off with an exciting and appropriately futuristic (almost apocalyptic!) video.

Prof Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia, gave an overview of the diabetes policy landscape, with a particular emphasis on major recent government investments (e.g. continuous glucose monitoring for under 21s and retinopathy screening). He spoke of the need to meet policy makers with hearts as well as minds, that it is not enough to have the evidence of benefit for medical outcomes, we also need persuasive communications and the story of how such technologies improve quality of life.

Dr Partha Kar gave an entertaining keynote, with insights from his role as Associate National Clinical Director for Diabetes at NHS England, covering a range of issues about the integration of technologies into the health system to improve healthcare delivery, to increase the reach of evidence-based initiatives for people with diabetes, and to enable more flexible communications between clinicians and people with diabetes.

In a section focused on the ‘consumer’ perspective, Australian and US advocates extraordinaire Renza Scibilia and Kelly Close both gave powerful and passionate presentations. Renza asked whether our latest technologies in diabetes really are the latest, and shared her experiences of Loop and OpenAPS, which were met by the audience of health professionals with equal measures of shock and awe – you can read her own blog about this talk here. Kelly spoke of the need to bring some balance to the outcomes and metrics used to measure success in diabetes care, bringing the audience up to date with the ‘Beyond A1c’ movement. Sandwiched between these two powerhouses of real-world experience was the ACBRD’s Prof Jane Speight, who discussed the evidence for the psychological impact of technologies (pumps, CGM and ‘closed loop’), which can be both positive and negative (often for the same reasons), the challenges of capturing these experiences in trials, as well as the lack of up-to-date systematic reviews in this area.

That summary only takes us through to lunchtime at ADATS. The rest of the day was filled with industry workshops and many more interesting presentations, focused on the latest apps, how 3D printing is redefining footcare, and the digitalisation of hospital records. To check out what happened during the conference, search #ADATS on Twitter or watch the video wrap-up of ADATS 2017 here. The key ‘take home’ message of the day was that the future is now. You can register for ADATS 2018 here. Why wait?