Monday, June 16, 2014

Hotel California

It's an ever shifting conundrum..what exactly does one attend international conferences for? I suspect it changes as your career and focus changes but in the main, at least for me, it has been about trying to learn something new, perhaps be excited by some innovation that can be brought back to where I work..and then again, there is the networking. Always an intangible concept it's something which is unparalleled in its richness..talking to peers, colleagues, absorbing ideas from each other..bouncing ideas off each other...and as my annual sojourn to the American Diabetes Association comes to an end, it's ticked pretty much every box. In short, it's been absorbing, fascinating,rejuvenating and dare one say, sometimes even eye opening.

Lets face it...a few days in San Francisco is no punishment and as the plane touched down on the sun-kissed tarmac, away from the incessant lurching from one crisis to another in our beloved NHS, a smile crossed my lips. Sure the killer jet lag reminded me acutely of those days left behind when jet lag was beatable with one more glass of whiskey...now the bed seemed more appealing a surrounding rather than yet another round at the bar....but I was ready to do some learning.

And boy, there was some..and then some more. Learning about engagement with adolescents, listening about self management tools, shared decision making...so much the NHS could adapt..actually let me correct that..so much we in Portsmouth could adapt. I have never belonged to the camp that we have nothing to learn from the Yanks...the healthcare system maybe different, may not be to ones socialist liking...but the passion and desire of the healthcare professionals, the innovation desire are the same...and if we can take something back which may help our local patients, why the heck not try that?

A fascinating session on hypoglycaemia provided riveting insight into complicated studies..in fact left me confused a bit..but as ever, Dr Pratik Chaudhury with his Braniac level knowledge enlightened me while chomping on some bacon.Ah the beauty of networking! Social media came to the fore, was discussed though one got the feeling the UK may indeed be miles ahead of the game...only 1 poster illustrating its benefit in diabetes care was perhaps disappointing but at least it was being discussed, it was put there.

Sessions on retinopathy showed how amazing the NHS retinal screening service has been and much much kudos to those who had set it up..something that had helped tender diabetes as a cause for blindness down the charts...reinforcement that what you are doing is good is always an essential part of learning, isn't it?
A fascinating session discussing roles of a specialist ( Endocrinologist), primary care physician and a nurse practitioner was practically déjà vu.Here were some of the main challenges the PCP were facing in the NHS....overload of work, too much being thrown back from hospitals, multitude and explosion of drug classes,retirements and inability to fill posts....how does that sound, UK GPs? Models of care were rising up the agenda...but one major theme came out of the meeting...togetherness, talking to each other, relations, understanding the needs of the patients, a shrinking financial pot....no different challenges then.Fascinatingly eye opening

And then there was the meeting with so many...not just the people I knew ( bumping into David Kerr as ever a pleasure with his explosion of ideas and suggestions)..but folks from the Mayo clinic, Kaiser Permanente, folks from India, Chile, Holland, France ..not trying to ape their model of work but looking at clinical work, things that can be brought back...in meetings with these guys, felt like a sponge...projects building in my head..watch this space..I have some ideas which I want to bring to where I work...shared decision making tools, clamp studies, glucose monitoring...felt just like a kid in no candy shop. Some evangelists continue to believe that there is no better HCP than on the UK...I can assure you the passion and verve shown by so many from other countries were no less...we must be open minded enough to learn not be suckered into a jingoistic belief of British is best. The healthcare system maybe the best arguably but the professionals desire?Same everywhere.

So it's home time tomorrow..and simply put, I have loved it.Made some new delightful friends, sharing a drink or two with them in the evenings, joking about life and the rest..and all of it has been helped by the superb organisation shown by the ADA.Hats off to all involved for pulling off such a huge meeting with aplomb in such an amazing city....it has been much appreciated. Lisa and Gary...you know who you are...a sincere thank you

America...will be back next year in Boston..thank you for the hospitality. And as you like to say..Good night. and God Bless. X

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Partha for the glimpse into #2014ADA. I'm intrigued and inspired that you see the UK leading the way in social media. The sense of international learning you capture in your post can only be helped as social media continues to play a growing role among people with diabetes and the professionals who care for them, no?

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