My recent trip through Europe and Japan was admittedly all pleasure. But one of the pleasurable experiences was also work. I’d been invited to be the closing keynote speaker at Roche Diabetes Care’s global Market Access Forum conference in Munich.
While I was approached to share the patient perspective and send Roche attendees home inspired, I came with more. I came with an “add-on” for Roche’s corporate mission: Doing now what patients need next. In my view, what patients need next is not to cope with diabetes – but to flourish.
Flourishing is a much-ignored domain available to us – living a healthy, happy, productive, robust, meaningful life, not despite having diabetes, but because of it. Yet the universal focus for treating, and living with, diabetes is on coping.
Coping can be a limited and negative view. Coping carries with it a sense of struggle and muddling through, trying to come up from the depths to “normal.” (In the graph below the black line indicates the domain of coping. The orange line that of flourishing)
Roche Diabetes Care produces glucose meters, insulin pumps and lancing devices. Yet it was a new idea that they can also be in the business of helping people with diabetes flourish. A fundamental for flourishing is to have both “”Heartware” and “Hardware.”
Heartware means to see the person living with diabetes, not just our disease. To partner, champion, support and work with people with diabetes toward possibilities and their best possible outcomes. Hardware is the tools and devices that make managing diabetes easier and help us be more successful.
At the end of my presentation there was complete silence. The conference organizer asked for questions yet none came. Then slowly, they came. One woman, burst into tears. “We’re so moved,” she said, “We have to catch our breath.”
Several participants came up to me after my talk. They wished I had opened the conference rather than closed it. Their two days they said would have been spent differently – focused on ways to expand and enliven their mission in regards to helping people with diabetes flourish.
It’s a personal joy for me to connect with and move people. Whether I’m talking with those who live with diabetes, health professionals or those in industry. You so deeply affect the quality of our lives.
Thank you Roche Diabetes Care. It was an honor and a privilege to share my ideas with your people. Thank you to everyone I met who are in the business of helping we who live with diabetes.