Do you see a role for support staff from pump/meter companies here?

The administrative team was recently approached by a major pump company who asked if we would consider allowing a non-sales oriented Clinical Manager to enter our community to answer questions about their products.

People in these clinical roles with pump and meter companies are often RNs, CDEs, or PWDs themselves. They are not directly involved in the marketing or sales of their companies’ products.

If we allowed them to join, their presence here would demand complete transparency (such as “John Doe, Insert-Name-of-Company Clinical Manager” as their member name) and they would be held to certain guidelines and participation restrictions (such as in which forums they may post).

We on the admin team are interested in your thoughts about the idea and have reached out to our friends at online communities such as Diabetic Rockstar, Diabetes Daily, and Children With Diabetes to ask for their input as well.

We see potential pros and cons. What do you see? Would you feel comfortable knowing you had a contact here to ask questions of? Would you feel less comfortable speaking freely about your experience or frustration with devices or customer service? Would you feel implicitly marketed to? Would you appreciate the chance to communicate with a representative who could troubleshoot your customer service issues?

Please share. As always, we value your feedback.

I think it may be a good idea. Like you said, as long as he/she was not trying to persuade a purchase in that pump type. It would give people a way of asking pump questions that are thinking of pumping or having a pumping issue. Nope no problem here.

If the individual is properly identified as representing the company, I’m all for more dialogue. As long as the individual has an “I’m paid to participate” tag and is featured only in a special section or during a live event.

To me, that’s what marks the true distinction between passionate participants with personal investment in the community versus paid-for participants (who may be passionate, also, but reimbursed in some form).

Let’s not kid ourselves. Many people on social networks are subtly marketing themselves–whether to promote their blog or Website or fund-raising efforts, etc. That’s not a bad thing. But loyalties should be clear.

I participate on this network as myself. I can’t disassociate myself from my job—editor of Diabetic Living magazine --because so much of what I read, edit, and write every day directly concerns this community. But I am not paid to participate. It is not part of my job description or assignments. And I personally donate to the Diabetes Hands Foundation to help fund the future of this network and other diabetes outreach efforts.

Transparency and boundaries are deal breakers for me. It would be great to have a direct line to a company, especially if I used its prodcucts. It would suck to have them start trying to sell me stuff or sending me e-mail because they got my name from this forum.

If you put them in their own forum or group, it could be ideal.


To some degree, the groundwork for this has already begun. We have onboard two members who are also on staff at Wavesense. When they post about Wavesense meters, they usually disclose their interest. One also posts as a PWD, and does not mention his professional affiliation where no conflict should arise.

What I see here is the idea of using communities (such as TuD, DR, DD, etc.) as another channel through which to provide customer service and support. (The “call center” of ten years ago is more often the “contact center” of today, including phone, e-mail, Web chat, company-sponsored forums, and sometimes direct-connect-to-device channels of communication with the customer – which can be a win-win situation – but which entails potential legal liability issues, of which DHF, TuD, the corporate entity in question, and the Clinical Manager must be aware.

To-date I note that as far as I can tell, the Wavesense liaisons have only discussed their products in technical specifications, how to use the features, and what to do when it doesn’t work right (e.g., how to contact customer service). I believe that at one time they also passed feature requests up to the appropriate groups (IIRC one of the contacts is a member of the design team).

I might be a bit more lenient with what I might allow a non-sales, medically-licensed individual to do within the community than others: I would set up a special “ask the expert” forum for questions directly posed to the individual, for which general responses could be posted in the forum and for which more-specific questions might be direct-messaged, but I would not a priori restrict that person from perusing (and/or being active in) other forums. I would actually expect that a company looking to delight its customers would want to pro-actively search the site for both positive and negative comments regarding the company’s products, and I would expect that TuD would set up an SLA with the Clinical Manager that questions posed in the designated forum would be answered within a specific delay. (I would also put some basic disclaimers in the forum re: specific medical advice, when to call instead of posting, when to call your medical team first, etc.).

As far as being afraid to post something negative about the company… well… they can read everything we write here whether or not they are members of the community, so the only difference is having a contact with a name and a position.

Can see pros and cons. If they would be allowed to join and post as representatives of their companies…I would say their “photo” would have to be a logo of their company…no matter what someone says, they are representing their interests when they post…that would be the only reason they are here…unless they are also diabetic. What makes Tu and other user driven networks special and useful, is that we are sharing w/ each other our unique perspectives as patients and support systems for patients. I am sure they could provide technical data and keep our community informed…maybe finding a specific way for them to do that w/o participating like members may be more appropriate. Maybe special forums for product updates, Q and A’s, etc. I suspect they are already here in some form. Good idea to make it more legit and up-front. Thanks for asking for our input:)

Um…it’s already happened. I welcome them to provide both insight AND to understand how their products are truly perceived and used in the hope that this will lead to better tools.

I would not restrict them to posting in any forum as long as they are identified as you have noted. After all, many of these folks are diabetics… and they are people too :slight_smile: ! My guess (and hope) would be that their companies are going to restrict how they post.

As in many other forums that I participate in, the good ones quickly become identified and the bad ones do to.

Fair Winds,

Hmmmm…I know this probably sounds paranoid, but what if we restricted it to those who are PWD?

Well, that would be reverse discrimination. Plus, people who live without diabetes can still have great info to share. Just not experiential info.

Well, then I guess I’m guilty.
I realize non-diabetics can be wonderful - hey, I’m married to one.
But I view Tu as “my” place - and the place of other PWD.
My opinion.

You’re right, PWDs are what makes tudiabetes special. But so do the parents of PWDs and the loved ones who also read and post.

Oh, you betcha. I guess, in my mind, parents of PWDs are one of us, especially parents of little guys. A special place in my heart for them.

It hasn’t exactly already happened. What we have now are members who work for companies in the industry but that are here on a member-basis, not as representatives of their companies. We have members here who work for Lifescan, Roche, Wavesense, etc. What we’re talking about now is designating a pre-determined forum or group area for people to answer questions about how best to use products and outlining how they may participate in the community.

I fully support the suggestions that it’s alright if they have their own forum. If people want to ask questions/participate in dialogues with these representatives, there could be a place to go for that–and it would be THEIR forum.

I kind of feel that this place is ours ,those with D and family members of those with D. I know that each of these companys have support on their websites which is great. My fear is that we run a risk of interjecting a company opinion rather than a personal opinion. I see that there is an upside if they have teir own Forum on this site . To me I like things pure and seperate and hope we can keep it that way.

I see no prob with it personally as long as they are IDENTIFIED as working for a particular company…and they don’t try to sell.

They can already read everything here and if they wanted to be stealthy about it they could and answer anyway.
any infringement would be grounds for banning --just like for non pump company peeps who cross lines…

I think it would be good, for us and for the vendor. The customer feedback we provide could help their product development/improvement, which in turn helps us. I vote yes, let them in, but with the restrictions mentioned.

I’m not against the idea, as long as they are properly identified and they’re here as a resource. I’d like to question other companies about pumps, and I’m not against giving my opinions either. We don’t have to deal with them unless we want to, and that’s a good thing.

Thanks for asking too!

I think this is a wonderful idea. I feel as long as they aren’t pushing for said product and are here for strictly support, we should welcome them with “open arms”

I would add that if access is opened up to durable equipment companies, that researchers and others should be encouraged to also participate…say like, Dr. Faustman’s lab. Again, all could be done as forums or something like it.