EHRs enhance care of hospitalized diabetes patients

Using an insulin order set within a hospital's electronic health record system can improve glycemic control for hospitalized diabetes patients, according to a new study (No. 228, page A38) presented at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology's 21st Annual Scientific and Clinical Congress in Philadelphia.

Poor glycemic control is associated with worse outcomes and longer hospital stays. Certain groups of diabetics, such as elderly patients and those with sepsis or renal disease, have higher mortality rates. The researchers, from Cleveland Clinic Florida in Weston, studied 256 diabetic patients to see if using the electronic insulin order sets would have an impact, according to MedPage Today.

The support tool provided more accurate tracking of insulin orders and less duplication of prescriptions. The rate of hypoglycemia dropped 6 percent--from 9.6 percent to 3.8 percent--after adoption of the EHR insulin order set. Euglycemia, a normal level of glucose in the blood, increased from 60 percent to 65 percent.

"The development of insulin order sets and documentation tools has had a dramatic effect on decreasing the incidence of hypoglycemia, improve glycemic control, increase adherence to evidence-based practices, and improve clinical outcomes in the hospital," the researchers said.

Previous studies also have demonstrated that EHR use can improve and streamline diabetes care. However, the results aren't universal. The discrepancy depends, not only the adoption of the EHR itself, but also how well it's being used in practice.

To learn more:
- here's the abstract (No. 228, page A38)
- check out this MedPage Today article
- read this study
- here's another