National Diabetes Month is a recognition that began 35 years ago, but perhaps is needed now more than ever before.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30.3 million people have diabetes in the U.S. That amounts to roughly one in 10 Americans, and it’s only growing in prevalence. It is estimated that by 2050, this figure will rise to one in three.

This year’s National Diabetes Month should not just be an acknowledgement, but a rather a call to action. It should serve as a reminder that more has to be done to not only prevent the disease, but also to better manage all aspects of the disease across the care spectrum.

As Monarch Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, Laurel Fuqua, echoed in a recent blog post, progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go. The majority of hospitals are still using complex and time consuming linear paper protocols to manage insulin dosing when there are proven technologies and software solutions that can help. A recent Diabetes Mine article highlights some of the challenges patients are facing and how hospitals can do a better job of managing glucose for patients across all units.

Dr. Patrick Burgess, EndoTool inventor and founder, recently described the market in a new video.

While the industry has evolved, as Dr. Burgess states, there is still a need to adopt a science-based approach to glycemic management.  Dosing insulin, particularly in the hospital, is challenging. The therapeutic range for insulin is a very narrow range that is highly patient dependent and impacted by stress. Because glucose was difficult to manage, and hospitals wanted to avoid dangerous hypoglycemic events, providers historically kept patients’ blood glucose levels high. But by doing this, hospitals have sent the wrong message that glycemic management is not important.

This is changing. Some hospitals across the country are addressing their practices to improve care for patients with diabetes. They have established successful inpatient glycemic programs, and as discussed recent EndoTool User Group Meeting, every program has the following attributes in common:

  • A clear understanding of current glucose metrics and insulin dosing protocols across units over time and standardized targets for those numbers
  • A centralized multidisciplinary glycemic management steering committee that monitors performance and benchmarks over time
  • Internal clinical champions that are passionate about improving outcomes, safety and process through more effective glycemic management

Hospitals around the country are improving patient care while reducing the risk of severe hypoglycemia and It’s time for others to act. This National Diabetes Month, let’s not just celebrate by bringing awareness to diabetes, let’s implement change to truly improve care for patients with diabetes.