Association Between a Virtual Glucose Management Service and Glycemic Control in Hospitalized Adult Patients: An Observational Study

Ann Intern Med. 2017 May 2;166(9):621-627. doi: 10.7326/M16-1413. Epub 2017 Mar 28.


Background: Inpatient hyperglycemia is common and is linked to adverse patient outcomes. New methods to improve glycemic control are needed.

Objective: To determine whether a virtual glucose management service (vGMS) is associated with improved inpatient glycemic control.

Design: Cross-sectional analyses of three 12-month periods (pre-vGMS, transition, and vGMS) between 1 June 2012 and 31 May 2015.

Setting: 3 University of California, San Francisco, hospitals.

Patients: All nonobstetric adult inpatients who underwent point-of-care glucose testing.

Intervention: Hospitalized adult patients with 2 or more glucose values of 12.5 mmol/L or greater (≥225 mg/dL) (hyperglycemic) and/or a glucose level less than 3.9 mmol/L (<70 mg/dL) (hypoglycemic) in the previous 24 hours were identified using a daily glucose report. Based on review of the insulin/glucose chart in the electronic medical record, recommendations for insulin changes were entered in a vGMS note, which could be seen by all clinicians.

Measurements: Proportion of patient-days classified as hyperglycemic, hypoglycemic, and at-goal (all measurements ≥3.9 and ≤10 mmol/L [≥70 and ≤180 mg/dL] during the pre-vGMS, transition, and vGMS periods).

Results: The proportion of hyperglycemic patients decreased by 39%, from 6.6 per 100 patient-days in the pre-vGMS period to 4.0 per 100 patient-days in the vGMS period (difference, -2.5 [95% CI, -2.7 to -2.4]). The hypoglycemic proportion in the vGMS period was 36% lower than in the pre-vGMS period (difference, -0.28 [CI, -0.35 to -0.22]). Forty severe hypoglycemic events (<2.2 mmol/L [<40 mg/dL]) occurred during the pre-vGMS period compared with 15 during the vGMS period.

Limitation: Information was not collected on patients' concurrent illnesses and treatment or physicians' responses to the vGMS notes.

Conclusion: Implementation of the vGMS was associated with decreases in hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.

Primary funding source: National Institutes of Health, the Wilsey Family Foundation, and the UCSF Clinical & Translational Science Institute.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy
  • Electronic Health Records / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization*
  • Hospitals / standards
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / diagnosis
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypoglycemia / diagnosis
  • Hypoglycemia / drug therapy*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / adverse effects
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Planning
  • San Francisco


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin