Accessing information on diabetes management is easier than ever before through the internet. It can also be overwhelming for the more than 3 million Canadians living with diabetes looking to find credible information.
Rob Roscoe, Clinical Pharmacist and Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), Rothesay, New Brunswick shares his insight into what to look for and what to watch out for when it comes to searching for information about diabetes.
“As a pharmacist, part of my responsibility is to help make sure my patients know about new treatments and products, as well as information sources and services that are available for them,” says Roscoe. “It’s also part of my job to help identify (or point out) incorrect information that could adversely affect their condition and might even do more harm than good.”
Here are a few tips from Rob Roscoe:
Make sure you’re consulting a credible source.
Nearly two-thirds of Canadians turn to the internet for health-related information[i]. There are a number of online chat rooms designed so that Canadians living with diabetes can connect with one another. This is certainly one way to seek support — both from a learning perspective (an exchange of ideas), as well as an emotional perspective.
That said, Roscoe cautions that you need to make sure your online source is trustworthy and credible. Any credible Canadian source of information needs to consider the recommendations from the Clinical Practice Guidelines from the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA). A good example of one of these credible sources is the STARsystem platform (STARsystem.sanofi.ca). This was designed to address the unmet needs of Canadians living with diabetes and helps empower them by providing tailored support and advice on five key areas:
Through STARsystem, each user gets a personalized assessment that directs them to tailored resources and provides a custom achievable curriculum that guides them towards reaching their wellness goals. A personalized dashboard even helps track progress along the way. It’s like having a diabetes support team right in your pocket. STARsystem users also have access to health coaching, a team of healthcare professionals who can provide support and additional information – helping Canadians self-manage their condition.
Make sure you buy a blood glucose monitor that’s right for you.
According to Roscoe, another aspect of diabetes management that’s improved greatly over the years is blood glucose monitors. These days’ monitors have even gone mobile including the introduction of the first blood glucose monitor in Canada that connects to an iPhone or iPod touch – the iBGStar. With only a couple of taps/swipes on their iPhone Canadians living with diabetes can monitor their blood glucose levels, store results and even email their data to their healthcare professional.
Pharmacies offer a wide variety of monitors — it’s extremely important to speak with a pharmacist or a member of your diabetes management team to find out which monitor is the right fit. You can also ask your pharmacists for more information about the iBGStar and BGStar (for non-iPhone users). As an added benefit, BGStar and iBGStar users get free access to STARsystem.
Check in with your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare team before making any changes to your health routine.
People living with diabetes need to rely on a number of people to help them manage their condition. It’s great to build up a large support system, but when it comes to changing any aspect of a diabetes management routine, Roscoe cautions that it’s important to consult a professional who can confirm that their patient is taking the right course of action.