Background: Inpatient hypoglycemia is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. After a hypoglycemic event, the likelihood of additional episodes increases. The Joint Commission recommends evaluating all episodes of hypoglycemia for root-cause analysis. Studies have shown that pharmacists' involvement with glycemic control protocols can prevent hypoglycemia.
Objectives: This study aimed to assess whether the implementation of pharmacists' real-time assessment of hypoglycemic events using an electronic alert messaging system contributes to the reduction of the number of recurrent hypoglycemia during hospitalization.
Practice description: A community hospital that provides a wide range of health care services. The pharmacy department provides fully decentralized clinical services and team-based specialist services.
Practice innovation: The pharmacist-led hypoglycemia stewardship initiative included a comprehensive review of hypoglycemic alerts received via an automated message. The alerts generated in the electronic health record (EHR) every time a patient's blood glucose resulted in less than 70 mg/dL if there was a documented administration of a hypoglycemic agent 48 hours before the hypoglycemia event. Once the alert was received by the pharmacists via an EHR in-basket, a real-time review was conducted to identify the potential causes of the event and opportunities for therapy modification.
Evaluation methods: A single-center retrospective observational study including a pre- and post-implementation phase from January 1 to June 3, 2020, and January 1 to June 30, 2021, respectively. Continuous data were analyzed using paired and equal variance t test. Noncontinuous data were analyzed using Fisher exact and chi-square test. Descriptive statistics were used to describe distribution and frequency of data.
Results: There was a 5.1% absolute reduction in recurrent hypoglycemic events (P < 0.001) and a 0.6% reduction of severe hypoglycemic days (P = 0.269) in the postimplementation group. The average time to pharmacist intervention was 4 (± 3.5) hours with a 92% acceptance rate.
Conclusion: This study demonstrated the utility of pharmacist-led hypoglycemia reviews in the reduction of recurrent hypoglycemic events in the inpatient setting.
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