The Hospitalist recently sat down with Nancy J. Rennert, MD, FACE, FACP, CPHQ, chief of endocrinology and diabetes at Norwalk (Conn.) Hospital, Western Connecticut Health Network, to discuss her institution’s glycemic control initiatives.
Tell us a bit about your program:
Norwalk Hospital is a 366-bed community teaching hospital founded 125 years ago, now part of the growing Western Connecticut Health Network. Our residency and fellowship training programs are affiliated with Yale University, New Haven, Conn., and we are a branch campus of the University of Vermont, Burlington.
With leadership support, we created our Glycemic Care Team (GCT) 4 years ago to focus on improving the quality of care for persons with diabetes who were admitted to our hospital (often for another primary medical reason). Our hospitalists – 8 on the teaching service and 11 on the nonteaching service – are key players in our efforts as they care for the majority of medical inpatients. GCT is interdisciplinary and includes stakeholders at all levels, including quality, pharmacy, nutrition, hospital medicine, diabetes education, administrative leadership, endocrinology, information technology, point-of-care testing/pathology, surgery and more. We meet monthly with an agenda that includes safety events, glucometrics, and discussion of policies and protocols. Subgroups complete tasks in between the monthly meetings, and we bring in other clinical specialties as indicated based on the issues at hand.
What prior challenges did you encounter that led you to enroll in the Glycemic Control (GC) eQUIPS Program?
In order to know if our GCT was making a positive difference, we needed to first measure our baseline metrics and then identify our goals and develop our processes. We wanted actionable data analysis and the ability to differentiate areas of our hospital such as individual clinical units. After researching the options, we chose SHM’s GC eQUIPS Program, which we found to be user friendly. The national benchmarking was an important aspect for us as well. As a kick-off event, I invited Greg Maynard, MD, MHM, a hospitalist and the chief quality officer, UC Davis Medical Center, to speak on inpatient diabetes and was thrilled when he accepted my invitation. This provided an exciting start to our journey with SHM’s eQUIPS data management program.
As we began to obtain baseline measurements of glucose control, we needed a standardized, validated tool. The point-of-care glucose meters generated an enormous amount of data, but we were unable to sort this and analyze it in a meaningful and potentially actionable way. We were especially concerned about hypoglycemia. Our first task was to develop a prescriber ordered and nurse driven hypoglycemia protocol. How would we measure the overall effectiveness and success of the stepwise components of the protocol? The eQUIPS hypoglycemia management report was ideal in that it detailed metrics in stepwise fashion as it related to our protocol. For example, we were able to see the time from detection of hypoglycemia to the next point-of-care glucose check and to resolution of the event.
In addition, we wanted some comparative benchmarking data. The GC eQUIPS Program has a robust database of U.S. hospitals, which helped us define our ultimate goal – to be in the upper quartile of all measures. And we did it! Because of the amazing teamwork and leadership support, we were able to achieve national distinction from SHM as a “Top Performer” hospital for glycemic care.