Get on the bus
Hospitalists are also integrally involved in a hospital glycemic improvement initiative at Orange Regional Medical Center (ORMC) in Middletown, N.Y.
The Glycemic Improvement Team (GIT) was formed in 2012 when a new hospital campus opened and EPIC was implemented as the hospital’s EMR. But glycemic control has taken on greater focus since 2015, when ORMC enrolled in eQUIPS, said Lorraine Porcaro, RN, the hospital’s diabetes clinical manager. The glycemic control team includes representatives from medicine, nursing, case management, laboratory, nutrition, pharmacy, wound care, and quality improvement.
Implementing the new EMR offered the opportunity to track a number of medical values in real time, Ms. Porcaro said. ORMC has focused its glycemic quality improvement efforts on hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, with a recent emphasis on the need for improvements related to glucose reassessment 15 minutes post hypoglycemia treatment. More than a hundred “Diabetes Champions” have completed 16 hours of advanced training in diabetes and provide in-unit mentorship for other staff.
The ORMC team’s glycemic improvement “bus” is a rolling cart that goes from unit to unit supplying nurse education, reminders, copies of department-specific policies and protocols, and treats for staff. “It’s what we’re known for,” Ms. Porcaro said. Pens with the motto: “Don’t Miss the Bus! Retest in 15!” summarize the GIT’s current focus on post–hypoglycemia treatment retesting.
Hospitalists were part of the glycemic improvement process at ORMC from the beginning and are still involved, said Adrian Paraschiv, MD, FHM, a hospitalist and assistant director of the medical center, as well as the ORMC director of clinical information technology. ORMC initiated hospitalist coverage in 1998 and now has three HM groups, two of them represented on the glycemic improvement team.
“Like any hospital, we feel we should minimize hypoglycemic events,” Dr. Paraschiv explained. “This became important for other hospital departments, and we recognized we needed a major QI initiative to improve our outcomes hospitalwide. In the process, we noticed what other people were saying: Results from improving glycemic control included reduced length of stay, cost, and infections. That provided motivation for the hospital to support our initiative.”
Glucose management isn’t only about blood sugar, but whether the patient ate or not, their other blood work, the level of education for patient and staff, and a variety of other inputs, Dr. Paraschiv said. “All of these things were in the EMR but all over the place. EPIC had an incipient structure for pulling the data together, and we modified it to show everything that’s going on with the patient’s glycemic control on a single screen. We can build order sets and issue different reports.”
Today at ORMC, hypoglycemia is reassessed within 30 minutes more than 50% of the time. “It will never be at 100%, but we wanted to at least be at the national mean for eQUIPS hospitals. Our stretch goal was to be in the top quartile, and by the end of 2017, we realized that goal,” Ms. Porcaro said. Sometimes, because of changes in patients and staff, the GIT needs to repeat the education and review policies. “Since then, it’s been a matter of continuing staff education; sharing glucose data with stakeholders; talking about goals for ICU and non-ICU units; and, when needed, rolling out the bus.”
Participation in eQUIPS has made it possible to gather this information in one place and present it in a way that makes sense to physicians, Dr. Paraschiv said. “Dr. Maynard and SHM showed us how to put the data together to add value. Using these tools, we started looking at our processes, what needed to change, and what we are able to change. Now we’re examining what happens afterward. Can we use the electronic system to automatically alert physicians to make changes to the treatment regimen in real time? We continue to improve using upgrades to our EMR, such as an alert system with best practice advisories for the clinician. We now think we can actually achieve what we set out to achieve,” he said.
“Our idea was that we needed to market this program throughout the hospital – starting from the kitchen, meal delivery staff, IT, laboratory, medical and nursing staff,” Ms. Porcaro said. “The issue is multifactorial – it’s for the entire hospital. My heart is warmed when I see the woman who delivers the meals asking the patient: ‘Have you gotten your insulin shot?’ ”
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