@Spitz interviews Kerri Morrone Sparling, Diabetes Blogger and Consultant at the Digital Pharma East Conference in Philadelphia, October 15-18, 2012.
Kerri starts by emphasizing she’s not a diabetes spokesperson, but an advocate who’s goal is to build community and bridge any gaps to getting the best treatment outcomes. She describes how she began out of a need to find information and connect with other patients, back when Googling “diabetes” led her to only raw clinical data and stories of patients dying from the disease. Insisting on living with diabetes and eager for peer-to-peer engagement, she put her personal story out there to create the community she sought. Kerri also believes that while connecting with patients is important, engaging with treatment providers is equally relevant since use of the most appropriate drugs, pumps, and monitors lie central to every diabetic’s life. And since it’s easier to trust anecdotal and very personal stories from patients putting these solutions into practice than reading information from a website, her advocacy extends into branded content sharing. To prevent any potential conflict of interest she insists on complete disclosure and transparency, and stresses that at the end of each day all diabetics want better care: The better pharma and medical devices can care for them, the better they can care for themselves and each other. Pharma might be stigmatized, she points out, but so is diabetes, so openly and actively engaging is in everyone’s best interest.