Initiating insulin in the emergency center and urgent care to prevent hospital admission for patients with hyperglycemia: a unique insulin starter kit
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BACKGROUND: Clinicians in the Emergency Center (EC) and Urgent Care (UC) can play a vital role in preventing hospital admissions and improving outcomes of patients with newly diagnosed diabetes or pre-existing diabetes who present with hyperglycemia and the need to initiate insulin. METHODS: This article describes a unique EC/UC discharge insulin starter kit protocol with clinician instructions via an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) order set that includes: starting doses for insulin, a prescription for glucose monitoring supplies, and an emergent referral to diabetes education at International Diabetes Center. Patients receive insulin during the EC/UC visit and are provided an insulin pen to take home. Nurses from the EC or UC review and provide educational material on how to use an insulin pen, treating hypoglycemia and healthy eating. The Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) sees patients within 24-72 hours after the referral is placed. RESULTS: Within our single healthcare system's EC and UC (multiple sites), the kit has enabled clinicians to metabolically stabilize patients and decrease the need for hospitalization without experiencing hypoglycemia. In the recent three years of use, of 42 patients given the insulin starter kit, there were only 2 patients with repeat EC/UC visits within the first six months (1 hyperglycemia and 1 hypoglycemia). CONCLUSIONS: An insulin starter kit and EMR-based order set initiated in the EC/UC setting is a tool that can be used to improve the quality of care for people with newly diagnosed or pre-existing diabetes experiencing significant hyperglycemia.
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