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Improving Glycemic Control and Insulin Ordering Efficiency for Hospitalized Patients With Diabetes Through Carbohydrate Counting

Pearson, Kristina K.; Reiland, Sarah A.; Meara, John G. O; Brown, Julie K.; Fedraw, Leslie A.; Mapes, David L.

The Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ): January/February 2016 - Volume 38 - Issue 1 - p e1–e9
doi: 10.1097/JHQ.0000000000000004
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Abstract: Glycemic control in hospitalized patients is challenging but important for optimal outcomes. Insulin dosing through carbohydrate counting may address patient, provider, and institutional factors that complicate hospital glycemic management. On two surgical units at a tertiary care teaching hospital, we pilot tested postmeal insulin dosing based on carbohydrate counting (plus basal insulin) rather than the current process of ordering scheduled premeal insulin without knowledge of the patient's consumption. Analysis assessed hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, insulin orders, and nurse and provider satisfaction and confidence. On general surgery, mean glucose level improved from 188 to 137 mg/dl (p < .001). On cardiovascular surgery, mean glucose improved only mildly from 177 to 175 mg/dl (p < .28). No hypoglycemia was reported. Efficiency of mealtime insulin dosing improved through reduced average number of insulin orders per meal from 1.1 to 0.09. Process satisfaction improved for providers (preintervention, 60%; postintervention, 100%), general surgery nurses (preintervention, 72%; postintervention, 100%), and cardiovascular surgery nurses (preintervention, 69%; postintervention, 84%). Confidence in insulin dose accuracy improved for providers (preintervention, 50%; postintervention, 100%), general surgery nurses (preintervention, 59%; postintervention, 100%), and cardiovascular surgery nurses (preintervention, 48%; postintervention, 84%). Carbohydrate counting is effective and efficient and improved staff satisfaction and confidence in hospital mealtime insulin dosing.

For more information on this article, contact Kristina K. Pearson at pearson.kristina@mayo.edu.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2016 National Association for Healthcare Quality
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