Your Insulin Management Process Is Wasting Nurses’ Time

Nurses, the lifeline of the hospital, are stretched thin on a normal hospital work day. The task lists, responsibilities and bedside demands seem to constantly grow. The pandemic has exponentially added to the daily stress and workload for the bedside nurse.

And being overworked isn’t just a problem for nurses — it can increase patient mortality.

The documentation seems endless, interruptions are frequent and many aspects of the nursing workflow are inefficient. But when it comes to time wasters in nursing, the worst are those that provide no benefit for (or even harm) patients.

One of the worst culprits? Outdated insulin management processes.

Paper protocols for insulin management waste time

The Healthcare Management Council surveyed nurses to find out their biggest time-wasters at work. Top responses included locating supplies and equipment (19%) and redundant communication with families (11%).

But the biggest offender by far was charts and documentation (55%). Respondents said data duplication and looking at different sources of information was a huge time drain.

When it comes to insulin management, having nurses re-enter data or work with hybrid paper and electronic systems is a major issue. In addition to wasting nurses’ time, copying data from the EHR into paper protocols can lead to dangerous transcription errors.

Worst of all, this effort is for a process that’s not even considered best practice. In fact, according to a study in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, paper protocols lead to higher rates of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, decreasing patient safety and creating further work for nurses.

EHR workflow optimization for insulin management isn’t always what it seems

In an effort to reduce reliance on paper protocols and optimize EHR workflows, many hospitals build digitized versions of these protocols within the EHR.

However, because they’re based on outdated methods and are not responsive to a patients’ individual insulin sensitivity, these digital paper protocols produce dosing recommendations that remain ineffective at controlling blood glucose. As a result, patients are on insulin infusions longer than they need to be, which requires continued intensive nursing intervention. Hence, they do little to reduce the workload for nurses.

To improve care for those who need insulin management, the American Diabetes Association recommends that “treatment decisions should be timely and based on evidence-based guidelines tailored to individual patient preferences, prognoses, and comorbidities.”

Glytec’s eGlycemic Management System® (eGMS) is a solution that meets those requirements, and uses data-driven algorithms to provide personalized insulin dosing recommendations at the point of care.

How eGMS saves up to 72 minutes per nurse per patient

Compared to non-integrated processes for IV insulin therapy, an integrated eGMS can significantly reduce nursing workloads.

Glytec’s eGMS integrates with EHR systems to import patient data directly into the software, generating data-driven dosing recommendations at the bedside that are personalized to each patient.

One study found that use of deep glucose management integrations reduced nursing time in the post-cardiac, critical care and surgical care units. Using integrated eGMS saved up to 72 minutes per nurse, per patient, and saved an extra three minutes per patient starting IV insulin drips.

Nurse satisfaction was also extremely high when using the eGMS integration in their EHR.

More ways eGMS saves nurses' time

In addition to saving time for nurses directly, using an eGlycemic Management System can help get patients into target blood glucose range faster and reduce the incidence of hypoglycemia, leading to a reduced average length of stay.

Some eGMS systems also include tools to help nurses stay on top of insulin management and improve communication within their teams, especially during shift changes.

For example, the GlucoView® module of Glytec’s eGMS provides a centralized dashboard that displays glycemic status indicators for all patients in a unit, as well as countdown timers and reminders for blood glucose checks.

Saving nurses time is an initiative we can all get behind. And when saving time comes with the positive side effect of increasing patient safety, the decision should be simple.

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