Lori Berard, RN, CDE – Diabetes
Lori Berard, RN, CDE
bh in Brief
Lori Berard has 29 years of experience in diabetes and is currently the Nurse Manager at the WRHA Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg Diabetes Research Group, Diabetes Nurse Clinician/Educator at the Wellness Institute Seven Oaks General Hospital and faculty member at the University of Manitoba. Lori is a member of the Steering and Executive Committees for Diabetes Canada’s Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines and chapter author.
Lori has received numerous distinctions, including the Canadian Diabetes Association Diabetes Educator of the Year Award in 2009 and the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certification Board Award of Excellence and Dedication in 2016.
Formerly known as The Canadian Diabetes Association
1 Diabetes Canada. 2017. Types of Diabetes. Accessed:
Diabetes is a chronic, often debilitating and sometimes fatal disease, in which the body either cannot produce insulin (Type 1) or cannot properly use the insulin it produces (Type 2). 1 Insulin is a hormone that controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Diabetes leads to high blood sugar levels, which can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves. The body needs insulin to use sugar as an energy source.
We know from Diabetes Canada that 11 million Canadians are already living with diabetes or prediabetes and that another Canadian is diagnosed every three minutes. We also know that technological innovations are changing our response to disease.
1. Why is diabetes a good example of a disease that responds to technology?
All people living with diabetes should be given the knowledge and skills to become effective in self managing their disease. The other important component is self-management support. Technology has enhanced the ability of health care professionals to provide support and made it easier for people living with diabetes to access that support. Text message support/reminders, mobile phone apps and advances in utilizing and sharing glucose (sugar) monitoring results have been proven to enhance self-management and improve outcomes.
2. How has technology specifically changed the management of diabetes?
Technology in diabetes has been evolving for the last 40 years. Technological advances have led to the development of devices for insulin delivery (pens and pumps), glucose monitoring (including continuous and flash monitors), and information sharing. Uploads to cloud-based technology, online interactive learning modules, and mobile device apps help people make better food and insulin decisions. The list of new technologies is expanding rapidly as innovators strive to improve delivery of care, self-management skills, decision support, and information exchange.
3. Why can such technology make a difference
Technology improves data collection and ensures appropriate insulin dose selection and delivery. New devices provide accurate information, ensure rapid information exchange, and instant feedback, including alerts when glucose (sugar) levels are high or low. Overall, they increase access to data, which may improve glucose levels and potentially prevent complications that can be serious, even life-threatening.
4. What do employers need to know about diabetes and the role of technology in the lives of employees with diabetes?
Access to technology has been demonstrated to improve diabetes management and thereby improve employee health and productivity. The ability to monitor health parameters helps employees with diabetes achieve and maintain glycemic targets. Along with more effective monitoring, advances in medication delivery systems ensure that accurate and appropriate medication doses are given. In the workplace, the ability to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) has a huge benefit in terms of employee performance and attendance. Avoidance of significant hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can improve concentration and energy. Employees who are self-managers and have access to appropriate tools to manage their food intake, as well as their levels of activity and stress, will have the flexibility and confidence they need to meet the demands of employment.
5. As we advance into the digital age, what further changes do you foresee in the management of diabetes?
Technology will continue to provide us with new ways to educate, support and guide people living with diabetes. Technology will allow people with diabetes to learn, communicate, gain support, and access care in the format that is most comfortable for them. The ability to easily interact with the diabetes team and share data, not just numbers, but other important information affecting glucose (sugar) control, will only continue to enrich diabetes encounters and improve health and productivity. bh