Kathleen Gold - 2011 Innovative Use of Media and Technology Award Winner
Starting in 2011, dLife has awarded the Innovative Use of Media and Technology award to people who are using technology to improve the state of diabetes education, awareness, and personal aid. Let's check in on their progress!
Kathleen Gold, MSN, RN, CDE, one of dLife's Q&A experts and Director of Outreach and Education for the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation was the 2011 winner of dLife's Innovative Use of Media and Technology Award. Her winning idea, now a fully functional website, is DiabetesLocal.org. Its goal is to aid local organizations in identifying resources for their diabetes communities. The awarded funds helped Kathleen improve the website by allowing the development of instructional guides to help in that goal. We were able to interview Kathleen recently about her website's progress, its accomplishments, and where she would like it to go.
Q. How did the award help improve DiabetesLocal?
We realized that CDE's were not comfortable using the internet, signing on as a user, so we developed some instructional videos on how to add a resource or search for a resource, the tips icons on the top of the page were added. The award also paved the way for us to do a great application to develop PSA which I sent to you.
Q. What is the status of DiabetesLocal? Has it seen any changes or updates?
DiabetesLocal.org has continued to grow. We presently have over 28,000 resources listed nationally. The mission of DiabetesLocal remains the same to provide a living guide of locally accessible, appropriate resources for those living with or at risk of developing diabetes.
Q. What types of feedback are you getting?
Individuals are using the site and finding useful resources. We are able to frequently connect individuals with services within their zip code. Our usage increases monthly and we have been the topic of a number of diabetes blogs. We are just beginning our marketing campaign to the public in many areas as we have been working very hard to identify resources. We continue to develop partnerships with multiple organizations and are growing slowly and steadily. Resource guides are expensive to maintain. We hope that our format will allow organizations to utilize the site without having the expense of having to develop a website.
Q. What do you think DiabetesLocal will do for diabetes education and management in the long run?
Our hope is that DiabetesLocal.org will increase awareness that diabetes education is an option. Many individuals are not aware that diabetes education programs exist. We also hope to be able to identify many other educational programs that are available in communities to promote health and wellness. Our hope is that hospital systems will use www.DiabetesLocal.org as a referral source for what is available in the community once a patient is discharged from the hospital. Managing diabetes is a lifelong process and if we can identify programs, services, products that are available in neighborhoods that people are living and working in then we have accomplished what we set out to do.
Q. Are local diabetes communities and organizations giving you recognition for helping them connect people to helpful resources?
Yes. State departments of health are linking to DiabetesLocal.org on their websites and are promoting DiabetesLocal in their programs. We recently received a grant from the Virginia Department of Health Chronic Disease Program to develop television and radio public service announcements to be used across the state.
Q. Are there any standout success stories that have come from people using DiabetesLocal?
I operate a national diabetes helpline and one caller had been discharged from the hospital with prescriptions for insulin. She had no insurance, no healthcare provider, and a limited income. By putting her zip code into the website, we were able to connect her with a free clinic, a diabetes education program, and a pharmacy that assisted individuals with diabetes obtain their medications at a reduced rate. This woman was so appreciative, she had no idea how she was going to manage her diabetes on her own and we were able to connect her with the services she needed.
Q. What is the biggest accomplishment of DiabetesLocal so far?
We recently partnered with a number of organizations within Virginia to promote DiabetesLocal.org. We are working with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the Virginia Business Group on Health, Virginia Navigator, and the Virginia Department of Health to begin a major marketing campaign across the state. We will be using our public service announcements to promote the site on television and radio, and we are excited about this opportunity and hope to be able to replicate it in other states.
Q. What is the next step for DiabetesLocal?
We are planning on doing some upgrades on the site, which will translate the information into multiple languages. We also hope to create a shopping cart, so individuals may choose the resources they are interested in pursuing and print the entire list.
Q. In 2011, you said that developing DiabetesLocal enabled you to gain new "a new host of skills." Now that your idea has become a reality, how have those skills helped you in managing it?
I think I have learned much more about marketing and our target audience. When we began this project we were focusing on diabetes educators, we now realize we need to market DiabetesLocal.org to social workers, discharge planners, case managers, healthcare providers, office nurses, and community health workers. These are individuals who interact with patients with diabetes over time and need to be able to assist patients with learning what resources are readily available for them in the community in which they live. It takes the support of many to successfully manage your diabetes and we hope to provide individuals with as many options as possible on a day to day basis.
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