- Laura Dunlap, RN BSN GCHI
- December 19, 2017
Recently, I attended Becker’s Review Healthcare IT and Finance conference in Chicago. The event drew hundreds of administrators and providers from around the country to address the substantial challenge in front of Healthcare CIO’s and CFO’s: proving the value of healthcare services our industry provides. Since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare industry’s focus has transitioned away from fee-for-service treatment of acute illness, to instead recognizing that managing chronic illnesses, like diabetes, provides better health outcomes for individual patients and the community at large. The conference challenged me to ask, how does Monarch Medical Technologies, specifically our EndoTool® Glucose Management System, contribute to better health outcomes for overall patient populations? What value do we add?
In the past, our return on investment tools focused only on showing reduction in the number of glucose readings and reduced nurse hours. Sure, fewer glucose readings means less patient sticks, a priority in delivering a better customer experience for the population of patients with diabetes. And reduced nurse hours mean more time spent on direct patient care. However, there are stronger cases to be made.
EndoTool Gets You Out Sooner
Studies have shown that higher blood glucose averages during an inpatient diabetes episode lengthens the average length of stay. Hyperglycemia and longer lengths of stay are associated with higher rates of hospital-acquired infections and higher rates of readmissions. Patients with diabetes become looped in the expensive and health-deteriorating cycle of treating acute illnesses related to the mismanagement of a chronic illness. EndoTool-integrated clinical workflow improves the average glucose during an inpatient diabetes episode, effectively reducing the average length of stay and enabling patients to leave the acute care facility sooner with their glucose safely managed.
EndoTool Keeps You Safe
In addition to managing hyperglycemia to reduce infections and shorten length of stay, EndoTool also keeps patients safe, by avoiding hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemic episodes can be incredibly harmful and have lasting long-term health effects on the patient. A 2014 study found patients experiencing inpatient hypoglycemia experienced a 66% increased risk of death within one year and spent 2.8 days longer in hospital compared to those not experiencing hypoglycemia.1 With EndoTool, providers effectively lower a patient’s average glucose to target levels, while avoiding hypoglycemia and its associated adverse health outcomes.
EndoTool Shows How to Properly Manage Glucose
With each new generation of resident providers and nurses, hospitals continue to err on the side of hyperglycemia, reinforcing the abjuration “better to keep ‘em sweet, then too low,” effectively placing glycemic optimization as a low priority on the list of health outcome improvement efforts. But by keeping patients sweet, they not only negatively impact health outcomes, hospitals also send a harmful message to patients on how to manage their diabetes. Patients look towards hospitals as being the beacon of best health practices. And for diabetes, that means maintaining a clinically optimal glucose with minimal variability and no hypoglycemia. EndoTool enables hospitals to more quickly achieve and maintain target blood glucose levels.
After the meeting, I came away confident that EndoTool is certainly adding value. The system is enabling patients to get out of the hospital sooner with their glucose levels managed; it’s helping providers to avoid negative patient outcomes; and it’s allowing hospitals to properly manage diabetes, thereby setting the example on how patients should manage their diabetes outside the acute-care setting.
About the Author: Laura Dunlap, RN BSN GCHI is a Clinical Specialist at Monarch Medical Technologies. At Monarch, she is responsible for supporting clients with the implementation and ongoing management of the EndoTool Glucose Management System. Laura works with new clients to understand their existing insulin dosing workflow and protocols and address any process gaps that may exist to ensure a successful implementation. Once in use, she continues to serve as a resource for clients providing ongoing analysis and training to optimize EndoTool and improve safety of insulin therapy. Prior to Monarch, Laura was a registered nurse in the neurosurgical unit at Carolinas Medical Center. She holds a professional graduate certificate in health informatics and a bachelor’s in science in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
1Corsino L, Dhatariya K, Umpierrez G. Management of Diabetes and Hyperglycemia in Hospitalized Patients. [Updated 2017 Oct 1]. In: De Groot LJ, Chrousos G, Dungan K, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA): MDText.com, Inc.; 2000-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279093/