Bringing together patient and healthcare opinion leaders – experts in their knowledge of Type 1 Diabetes – the Type 1 Diabetes Think Tank Network provides the expertise, guidance and integration to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for people with T1D through Conversations that Really Matter.


What makes T1D Think Tank Network Different?

The highly specialized nature of the T1D Think Tank Network includes endocrinologists, diabetes educators, family practitioners, dieticians, nurses, pharmacists, patient support associations, administrators and T1D patients who have been leaders in advocating for and with their peers. This is a community of practice, engaging members as active participants and contributors to the collective development of knowledge while reinforcing the value and expanding the impact of understanding and sharing the patient experience.

Background

In early 2013, a national group of leading healthcare professionals specializing in the care, treatment and research into T1D and vocal, concerned T1D patients sat down together. Their conversation was at times intense, at other times humorous as they shared their individual stories about living a life with T1D or working with those who do.

Their conclusion? More – a lot more – needs to be done to improve the lives and health of those with T1D. And improving lives means a very simple thing had to change in physician offices, diabetes treatment centres and other healthcare settings: better communication based on a mutual understanding of the patient experience. The Type 1 Diabetes Think Thank Network was born.

What is the Type 1 Diabetes Think Tank Network?

The T1D Think Tank Network is a national community of practice, engaging members as active participants and contributors to the collective development of knowledge about T1D while reinforcing the value and expanding the impact of understanding and sharing the patient experience.

The innovative “Think Tank Approach” developed through T1D Think Tank Network Insight Sessions has opened the path to a new, level playing field for both patients and healthcare professionals. The T1D Think Tank Network approach to collaboration and partnership between healthcare professionals and patients emphasizes communication, learning and respect, these are conversations that matter. Patients can be assured healthcare professionals will listen and respond to their unique issues. Healthcare professionals are confident that patients have the self-assurance and knowledge to care for themselves.

Who is involved?

T1D Think Tank Network has recruited many of Canada’s leading opinion leaders – patients and healthcare professionals – and has support from industry partners. Through T1D Think Tank Network, healthcare professionals see the powerful ways that small changes in how they communicate in their clinical practice improves their ability to positively impact health outcomes. T1D Think Tank Network patient and healthcare opinion leaders are mentors and role models working together – locally and nationally – to educate and support their peers on the benefits of the “Thank Tank Approach”.

Why focus on Type 1 Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes is a very different disease than Type 2. For instance, T1D patients are usually very skilled and knowledgeable about the disease and their own treatment requirements. Healthcare professionals can benefit from this experience by learning effective ways to communicate with these patients.

The cost of caring for T1D is significant over the patient’s lifetime. Emergency hospital visits, diagnostics, lengthy hospital stays, diabetes clinics, regular visits with specialists including endocrinologists, cardiologists, ophthalmologists and urologists are a significant burden for the patient, their family, employers and the healthcare system including insurers. Improved communications and awareness can lead to savings to the healthcare system in terms of patient and healthcare system resources.

And beyond the health system costs are the direct and indirect costs to family, employers and insurers. T1D patients can even find themselves tangled in the legal system if they experience a diabetic emergency in a public place due to the lack of understanding about the disease.

What is the T1D Think Tank Network Hoping to Achieve?

T1D Think Tank Network is the only national platform devoted to engaging T1D patients and healthcare professionals to change the way all stakeholders think about and take action to address this chronic disease. T1D Think Tank Network is focused on delivering the following broad strategic goals:

1. Improve communications between patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs)

2. Elevate the healthcare provider standard of care delivered to T1D patients.

3. Empower patients with skills for better self-management of T1D.

How will Think Tank reach its goals?

Think Thank has established the innovative Insight Sessions that bring together patients and healthcare professionals to facilitate learning around better approaches to patient-HCP communication. Insight Sessions have been held in major centres across Canada. Learnings from the Insight Sessions are shared through the T1D Think Tank Network  website, by peer-to-peer mentoring and information-sharing and through presentations at academic and patient conferences such as the December 2015 International Diabetes Federation World Conference.

T1D Think Tank Network Partnerships and Supporters

T1D Think Tank Network has successfully developed a range of partnerships with patient and healthcare opinion leaders, T1D community organizations and industry partners that share the essence of the mission of the T1D Think Tank Network. These partners and supporters have helped expand the community of experts and have allowed the work of the T1D Think Tank Network to be shared nationally.