A Diabetes Educator In Your Pocket

diabetes educator - one drop

One Drop CDE Rachel Head discusses the benefits to having real-time access to a diabetes educator, and how One Drop provides this essential diabetes support through the Experts Program.

Why the need for a diabetes educator?

On December 6th, I had a warm, fuzzy moment. That was the day that Diana*, the very first person to sign up for the One Drop Experts program, and I connected.

Diana lives a thousand miles away. She’s trying to lower her A1C so she can have another child. Admittedly, she is hesitant when it comes to asking for help with her diabetes. She is a busy working mom who is also in school pursuing her degree. And, Diana feels her healthcare team has “all but given up” on her.

As a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), I have seen countless people benefit from clinic-based diabetes education over the years. But, how effective is the model of traditional diabetes education for someone like Diana?

What does traditional diabetes education look like?

First, Diana would have to be one of the 6.8% of patients who receive a doctor’s referral for diabetes self-management education (DSME). Hopefully, she would have some insurance benefits that help cover this A1C lowering treatment. Once she successfully schedules the appointment, Diana will have to check with her employer about leaving work early. She may also need to arrange childcare for her three-year-old.

On the day of her appointment, Diana will need to pack up her diabetes gear and other belongings, and make the trip into the office by bus or by car. Her session might be short. It might be shared. Worst-case scenario, it might be irrelevant at that particular moment in time. She may not get another educational opportunity for a while. Regardless, Diana does what anyone with a chronic disease must do – she keeps going anyway.

diabetes educator - one drop

There are instances where this model of diabetes education delivery is warranted and necessary. There are some people with diabetes for whom this traditional model suffices. But for many people, the current model of diabetes education is failing to support them at their most vulnerable pain points, adding further barriers when it should be removing them.

So, how effective is the model of traditional diabetes education for someone like Diana? Even with the best and brightest diabetes educators in the field? Perhaps not as effective as it could be.

One Drop puts a diabetes educator in your back pocket

The One Drop | Experts Program is a mobile alternative that bypasses these pain points. Experts connects people with diabetes directly to a Certified Diabetes Educators, wherever they go. With Experts, Diana can access diabetes education and support whether she’s taking a lunch break, walking to class, or strolling her son around the mall. All Diana needs to do is open the One Drop app.

The benefits of mobility go beyond the person with diabetes, and extend to the clinician. By operating in near real-time, educators develop remarkable relevancy to peoples’ daily journey with diabetes. By maintaining frequent contact, educators build meaningful relationships needed for effective interactions. And by leveraging innovative technologies, educators become incredibly efficient self-care facilitators. Case in point—I now coach more people with diabetes every day than all the CDE’s at my previous clinic put together could feasibly communicate with in a single day—and we’re just getting started. Reducing education pain points and barriers is a win-win for people with diabetes and educators alike.

Self-care tools have long been in the pockets, backpacks, and purses of people living day to day with diabetes. On December 6th, 2016, when we launched One Drop | Premium, diabetes educators finally jumped in as well.

*name changed

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Rachel Head CDE
Rachel Head CDE

Rachel Head is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, specializing in pediatric diabetes, diabetes technology, and the role of social media in disease management. Rachel became particularly interested in the behavioral aspect of diabetes management after working in a clinic whose primary patients were people living with diabetes. Upon realizing the the need for a more personalized approach to diabetes education, she focused on changing those tools to have a more impactful and individualized component. At One Drop, Rachel provides that behavioral-based method in her coaching and support as part of the Experts program. Rachel also volunteers with the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), where she currently serves as a Media Spokesperson and member of the 2017 Diabetes Technology Workgroup. Rachel previously served as Chair of the Arizona State Coordinating Body (2014-2015) and Co-Leader of the Diabetes Technology Community of Interest (2015). Rachel received her Bachelor of Science in Coordinated Dietetics from Texas Christian University in 2008, and became a Registered Dietitian the same year.