For many hospital leaders, glycemic management isn’t a priority. While they understand that hypo- and hyperglycemia can negatively affect patients, they’re often unaware of how many require insulin titration and the massive impact its mismanagement has on the health system’s bottom line. Instead, clinical inertia keeps roughly 90% of hospitals in the United States using standard one-size-fits-all insulin dosing protocols for patients living with and without diabetes.
While insulin is a life-saving medication, there are many factors clinicians need to consider to effectively and safely prescribe the drug. Giving the wrong dose of insulin can lead to a life-threatening incidence of hypoglycemia. Unfortunately, a lack of standardization and generalized sliding-scale practices often results in errors. In fact, 50% of all medication errors involve insulin, which is more than any other drug. So it’s no surprise that hypoglycemia is also the third most common adverse drug event in the United States.
When you look at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, in particular, the problem only amplifies. On average, one of every three hospitalized patients in the United States requires insulin therapy to control blood glucose during their stay. Yet, that need is higher in VA hospitals because 25% of veteran patients live with diabetes, compared to about 10% of the general public.
Leading health care organizations across the nation are looking to change this troubling trajectory with insulin management software.
Kaweah Delta Health Care District, a 581-bed academic center in Visalia, California, realized it needed help improving its glycemic management practices. After evaluating several options, the company partnered with Glytec, an insulin management software provider. Kaweah Delta looked for Glytec to help educate providers on best practices and deliver dosing support through its eGlycemic Management System (eGMS). The FDA-cleared eGMS, and its proprietary algorithms, power the only solution capable of delivering personalized insulin dosing recommendations across the continuum of care.
Like any new project, Kaweah Delta battled disruption to previous procedures and workflows.
“When it comes to managing insulin, fear of hypoglycemia is pretty common, so the staff were naturally mistrusting of the Glytec system at first,” said Christopher Patty, DNP, RN, CPPS and medication safety specialist at Kaweah Delta. “But after following the recommended dosing adjustments, the results spoke for themselves.”
The team at Kaweah Delta experienced a 64% reduction in point-of-care blood glucose testing and a 23.1% reduction in overall length of stay for patients who received insulin therapy.
Perhaps the most significant result was to the hospital’s bottom line. After adopting Glytec’s eGMS system and glycemic best practices, the health system saved more than $7.4 million in the first year. The savings was rooted primarily in two key areas: 73.7% reduction in severe hypoglycemia < 40 mg/dL and 47.4% reduction in point-of-care blood glucose testing.
But technology doesn’t just help improve patient outcomes and save hospitals money. It’s also reducing the burden on providers.
To put the technology to the test, Duke University performed a study and observed nurses taking care of patients requiring insulin in a 635-bed tertiary care hospital in rural west Tennessee. The group that relied on Glytec’s eGMS system to help insulin dosing witnessed a reduced need for physician calls, decreased shift workload, and reported they felt less likelihood of having insulin errors. In fact, total nursing time in post-cardiac, critical care and surgical care was reduced by up to 72 minutes per nurse per patient. These results led to a 90-100% nurse satisfaction within the system.
Glytec believes improved patient care, cost savings and provider support make the need for insulin management software evident, especially for VA health systems.
“Relying on dated protocols for managing insulin is needlessly costing taxpayers – especially when you consider the high percentage of veterans living with diabetes and the fact that the VA is the largest integrated health care system in the United States. But more importantly, it’s impacting the standard of care that we owe to the veterans who have given so much to protect and serve our country,” said John Downey, Chief Commercial Officer at Glytec.
Glytec’s eGMS is currently in use at government health facilities today, but a recent partnership is making it easier. Together, Glytec and ThunderCat Technology, a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that delivers technology products and services to government organizations, are working to simplify the process for VA health systems to procure eGlycemic Management Systems. The two organizations are on a mission to use technology to improve patient outcomes and reduce the cost of care for the large population of veterans with diabetes.
If you’re interested in how this partnership can help you, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 864-370-3297.