How Glucose Control Can Save Hospitals Money

How would you like to save your hospital almost $75,000 a year in potentially unreimbursed expenses?

This was the realization Wilson Memorial Hospital, a 71-bed hospital in western Ohio, made when it decided it needed to find a better way to control blood glucose levels across the hospital.

In 2007, Remote Automated Laboratory System, a glycemic benchmarking service, reported that Wilson Memorial was in the lowest quartile of effective glycemic control for all benchmarked hospitals across the nation. This came after two separate attempts to make paper-based algorithms work within the organization.

The hospital knew it needed to make dramatic changes, and after considerable work and research, it decided to implement the EndoTool Glucose Management System across the entire facility and use 2008 ADA guidelines as the blood glucose targets.

Almost immediately, the hospital saw results. In the first month alone, Wilson Memorial experienced a 54% decrease in extreme hyperglycemia (>200 mg/dL) among patients who were managed with EndoTool. What’s more, the hospital saw an 80% decrease in hypoglycemia, which can be the result of overcompensating for high blood glucose levels.

While the clinical results were impressive with the hospital reducing blood glucose levels hospital-wide from 183.8 mg/dL to 162.2 mg/dL, Wilson Memorial found that it was also able to achieve cost savings using the system.

The hospital discovered it by evaluating just one type of patient coming through its doors – those with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

In the 11 months prior to implementing EndoTool, the hospital treated 19 patients for DKA. The typical length of stay for these patients was 3.3 days at an average cost of more than $9,700 per patient. Upon implementing EndoTool, the length of stay dropped to 2.66 days with the average cost under $6,200. By extrapolating this data, the hospital realized it could potentially save $75,000 a year just to treat DKA patients.

This was a significant find for the organization, which like all hospitals face ongoing scrutiny over every dollar spent and must deal with an ever-expanding list of hospital-acquired conditions. Given that uncontrolled glucose levels have been proven to impact the length of stay and comorbidities in hospitalized patients, regardless of diabetic status, it could have far-reaching implications for all care centers nationwide.