An inpatient hypoglycemia committee: development, successful implementation, and impact on patient safety

Ochsner J. 2013 Fall;13(3):407-12.


Background: Hypoglycemia is a major and preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the hospital setting. Prevention of hypoglycemia in hospitalized patients relates to the practice climates and prescribing patterns of physicians, the development of safe and effective protocols, and the education of providers and nursing staff on hypoglycemia and its consequences.

Methods: Many hospitals use multidisciplinary committees to address issues of healthcare quality and patient safety. This article describes the creation of a subspecialty Hypoglycemia Committee, its design and function, and the steps taken to reduce hypoglycemia in a large, tertiary acute care hospital.

Results: The committee's initiatives included a systematic investigation of all severe hypoglycemic events, the development of a standalone hypoglycemia treatment protocol, reduction of sliding scale insulin therapy, revision of insulin order sets, and education of physicians and house staff. Hypoglycemic events have consequently decreased.

Conclusion: The Hypoglycemia Committee is unique in that every case of severe hypoglycemia is reviewed by physicians, endocrinologists, and diabetes specialists. This multidisciplinary approach can effect measurable decreases in preventable hypoglycemic events.

Keywords: Blood glucose; hospitalization; hypoglycemia; quality improvement.

Publication types

  • Review