Background: Structured subcutaneous insulin order sets and insulin protocols are widely advocated. The intervention effects are not well reported.
Objective: Assess the impact of these interventions on insulin use patterns, hypoglycemia, and glycemic control.
Design: Prospective observational.
Setting: 400-bed academic center.
Patients: Adult non-critical care inpatients with diabetes or hyperglycemia and point-of-care (POC) glucose testing.
Interventions: Structured insulin orders, insulin management algorithm.
Measurements: Percent of insulin orders with basal insulin. Percent uncontrolled patient-stays (day-weighted mean glucose >or=180 mg/dL) and uncontrolled patient-days (patient-day mean glucose >or=180 mg/dL). Percent of monitored patient-days and patient-stays with hypoglycemia (glucose <or=60 mg/dL) and severe hypoglycemia (glucose <or=40 mg/dL).
Results: The percent sliding scale only insulin regimens decreased (72% versus 26% with structured insulin orders, P < 0.0001 chi square). The percent of uncontrolled patient-days was 37.8% versus 33.9% versus 30.1% (P < 0.005) (TP1-Baseline; TP2-Structured insulin orders; TP3-Orders plus Algorithm). Expressed as relative risk with 95% confidence interval (RR with CI), the RR of an uncontrolled patient-stay was reduced from baseline to 0.91 (CI 0.85-0.96) in TP2, and to 0.84 (CI 0.77-0.89) in TP3, with more marked effects in the secondary analysis limited to patients with at least 8 POC values. The percent of patient-days with hypoglycemia was 3.8%, 2.9%, and 2.6% in 3 time periods, representing a RR for hypoglycemic day in TP3:TP1 of 0.68 (CI 0.59-0.78). Similar reductions were seen in risk for hypoglycemic patient-stays.
Conclusions: Hypoglycemia and glycemic control can be improved simultaneously with structured insulin orders and management algorithms.