Thursday, August 2, 2012

Roche Social Media Summit 2012

For the first time, I was invited to a blogger/advocate summit. July 29-31, I was in Indianapolis, Indiana, courtesy of Roche, maker of Accu-Chek products, as well as many other diabetes related supplies and devices. I put my disclaimer here: Roche paid for all of my travel expenses, including flight, lodging and meals. That being said, all opinions are my own and anything I say in this post, good or bad, is my own opinion.

For the past four years, Roche has been gathering bloggers, online advocates, and medical professionals with an online presence to have the Roche Social Media Summit. This year, I was one of the lucky ones invited to attend. I feel blessed to have been invited and even more thankful after having experienced the actual event.

There were so many things that happened, that my mind has been nearly overloaded since I got back late Tuesday night. I thought about writing more than one post in order to get all the information in. But I instead chose to do only one post instead. There were so many of us at the event, that I'm sure whatever aspect you are looking for, someone else has probably covered it.

Our trip started out with check-ins and an evening meet and greet. One of my favorite things from the few hours between my arrival and the evening event was the chance I got to go have lunch with Lee Ann Thill, Kelly Kunik and Scott Johnson. I'd met Lee Ann and Kelly previously, but I'd been wanting a face to face meeting with Scott Johnson for a LONG time, as he was the FIRST person to ever comment on this blog. Also, he has a really great Minnesotan accent. :) (Just a note, everyone loved my thick country accent this trip, but I loved listening to Scott talk! I have an accent crush.)

There was also an almost constant group of people in the lobby of the hotel greeting people as they got in from their travels. Meeting many of them for the first time, and seeing some old friends again was great. And I loved that most of it happened in the lobby of the hotel. At the meet and greet there was a great amount of time to talk with each other, as well as with some Roche employees. I loved that time and loved getting to chat with and get to know so many people that I've known online for years.

The first full day of the summit started with a welcome and then a great presentation about the DOC: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow. I loved that Roche was acknowledging that the DOC exists, has a voice, and is continually growing.

Roche also brought in guest speaker, Josh Bleill from the Indianapolis Colts. I could write and write about all the amazing that was Josh Bleill, but instead I'll say this: Josh Bleill is a double amputee, hurt in Iraq as a Marine, and an extraordinary human being who gives me motivation to continue on with the things that I love and is a great representation of what it means to overcome.To read a much more eloquent version of Josh Bleill's visit with us, check out Chris Stocker's post. He says it all.

We also were able take a trip to the Roche campus to have lunch, a discussion with several Roche "big-wigs" about technology and where Roche is headed, as well as a tour of the Research & Development facility and the Manufacturing Facility. Did you know that Roche is the only diabetes company that makes test strips and meters in the U.S.? I was unaware of this. Also, in only ONE of their plants (the one in Indy), a three-shift day can turn out 15 million test strips. 15 MILLION. That's a lot of test strips.

That being said, while we were having the Q & A with the Roche people and the tour of the campus, I was even more appreciative to have people present who were more technologically inclined than I am. Scott Strumello, Kitty Castellini, Bennette Dunlap, and several others. These people were asking the questions that I wouldn't have thought to ask about technology.

We finished out Monday with a trip to see a minor league baseball game (the Indianapolis Indians) and to be honest, I'm not much of a baseball fan, but there was still fun to be had and I spent the entire game chatting with people and realizing how many amazingly SMART people we have in the DOC. It makes me proud to know that our community is so diverse that we each have our own goals and talents.

And there there was this thing:

Apparently this is Rowdie. I didn't know what he was, other than the team mascot for the Indianapolis Indians. Apparently he's a bear. Who knew? Read about him here. Also, he's kind of creepy. At one point he put my head in his mouth. I haven't managed to chase down the picture yet. If you are reading this & you know who had it, let me know! I want that picture!

Even after the game, as late as it was and as tired as we were, there were several of us who weren't quite ready to call it a day. Several of us got together to chat, have a drink or two, and laugh together. Eventually, though, it had to be done. Sleep had to be on the agenda.

Tuesday morning began a session on the Roche portfolio. It was a detailed look at what Roche is doing now and what they're working toward. Some of the stuff was more about the direction they were hoping to head and we were asked not to discuss it, as they haven't had a chance to finalize things and submit things to the FDA, and that could cause problems later. That being said, there is some exciting stuff that is a possibility for Roche. I look forward to seeing great things from them in the future.

They shared with us their new insulin pumping system, the Accu-Chek Combo system, and actually gave us their newest meter, the Accu-Chek Nano. While I don't see myself changing to the Nano right now (my OneTouch reads to my insulin pump), it is a pretty cool device. The also shared the new Accu-Chek FastClix lancet device, which is a newer version of my beloved Accu-Chek MultiClix.

Some things I found interesting:

-After acquiring the FDA cleared Solo Insulin Pump, Roche has decided not to release it to the public.

-After entering a research & development contract with Dexcom, Roche is going to be distributing the version of Dexcom that will be used by medical professionals in office, NOT the ones that we as patients would have.

-The MultiClix is going to eventually be a thing of the past, as all the Accu-Chek Nanos, as well as all future Accu-Chek Avias will be packaged with a FastClix.

A final speaker closed out our time at the Roche Social Media Summit 2012. Steve Richert, from Living Vertical came to speak with us. Steve is a Type 1 diabetic who is in the middle of a project that involves him climbing, in some capacity every day for a year. This project, called Project365 is a pretty amazing thing. If you'd like to help Steve out, go HERE and watch the video, and then "like" it. For every "like" Roche will donate $1 toward Project365.

I loved my time at the Roche Social Media Summit. I was honored to have been asked, and I hope I did everything I could to represent everyone with diabetes to the best of my ability. Thanks to Rob Muller and Todd Siesky, along with all the other amazing Roche employees we met this year, for putting forth the effort to find out what we as consumers want and what we think. It means a lot to know you are listening. Had I not been in the group picked for the Summit this year, I still have faith, like I have every other year, that I am being well represented by members of the DOC. The best thing that I learned at the Roche Social Media Summit was that we are a truly diverse and intelligent group  of people in the DOC.

And thank you to Roche for taking the time to get to know us, the consumers. May you continue to step "out of the box" and make positive strides in diabetes care for those of us that live with diabetes 24/7.


Rachel said...

So glad I finally got to meet you after all these years!!

Chris Stocker said...


It was great to finally meet you in person. I would agree that your accent may have been the highlight of the meet and greet dinner, especially Kerri's version of it.

Thank you very much for mentioning my post about Josh. He was such an inspiration to us all. I look forward to meeting up some other times. Hopefully, I can make that trip to Nashville soon.

Alexis Nicole said...

Sooo awesome! I am so happy you got to go, sounds like an amazing time!

I'm sneaking in next year ;)

Sara said...

I think I like Kerri's version of you accent just as much as the real thing. ;)

Meri said...

Thank you for the run-down! Sounds like you all had a blast!

Unknown said...

Awesome recap!!!! Love it and loved meeting you :)

Scott K. Johnson said...

Haha! Yes! That lunch was pretty awesome. Good friends, good pizza, and Olympics on TV! Youbetcha! :-)

Sysy said...

Glad you had an amazing time, Cara :D Thanks for reporting :)