In This Edition
Literature at a Glance
A guide to this month’s studies
- Continuous insulin infusion in non-ICU patients
- How hospitalists spend their day
- Outcomes of patients leaving against medical advice
- Prediction rule for readmission
- Effects of high- vs. low-dose PPIs for peptic ulcer
- Hospital utilization by generalists before hospitalists
- Effect of hospitalist fragmentation on length of stay
- Medication errors at admissions in older patients
Continuous Insulin Infusion Provides Effective Glycemic Control in Non-ICU Patients
Clinical question: Is continuous insulin infusion (CII) a safe and effective option in the management of hyperglycemia in non-ICU patients?
Background: Hyperglycemia has been associated with worse outcomes in hospitalized patients. Prior research has demonstrated the benefit of CII in managing hyperglycemia in the ICU setting. However, outcomes have not been evaluated in the general medical (non-ICU) setting, where hyperglycemia is often inadequately addressed.
Study design: Retrospective chart review.
Setting: Urban tertiary-care medical center.
Synopsis: Charts of 200 adult patients treated with CII in non-ICU areas were reviewed with the primary outcomes including mean daily blood glucose (BG) levels and number of hyper- and hypoglycemic events occurring on CII. Mean BG dropped from 323 mg/dL to 182 mg/dL by day one, with a BG≤of 150 achieved in 67% of patients by day two of therapy. Twenty-two percent of patients suffered a hypoglycemic event (BG<60), reportedly similar to prior studies of insulin use in ICU and non-ICU settings. Eighty-two percent of patients received some form of nutritional support while on CII. In multivariate analyses, receiving oral nutrition (either a solid or liquid diet) was the only factor associated with increased risk of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.
This study was limited by its retrospective analysis in a single center. No comparison was made with basal-bolus or sliding-scale insulin therapy regarding efficacy or safety.
Bottom line: Non-ICU patients with hyperglycemia who received CII were able to achieve effective glycemic control within 48 hours of initiation, with rates of hypoglycemia comparable to those observed in ICU settings.
Citation: Smiley D, Rhee M, Peng L, et al. Safety and efficacy of continuous insulin infusion in noncritical care settings. J Hosp Med. 2010;5(4):212-217.
Hospitalists Spend More Time on Indirect, Rather Than Direct, Patient Care
Clinical question: What are the components of the daily workflow of hospitalists working on a non-housestaff service?
Background: The use of hospitalists is associated with increased efficiency in the hospital setting. However, it is not known how this efficiency is achieved. Prior literature has attempted to address this question, but with increasing demands and patient census, the representativeness of existing data is unclear.
Study design: Observational time-motion study.
Setting: Urban tertiary-care academic medical center.
Synopsis: Twenty-four hospitalists were directly observed for two weekday shifts. An electronic collection tool was developed using initial data on hospitalist activities and piloted prior to formal study data collection. Direct patient care was defined as involving face-to-face interaction between hospitalist and patient, while indirect patient care involved activities relevant to patient care but not performed in the patient’s presence.