How technology can improve diabetes care amid the pandemic and beyond

Innovation among glycemic management programs has improved care for critically ill patients and prompted discussions on technology's ongoing role in diabetes care.

During a March 25 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Glytec, industry leaders discussed how glucose monitoring can be improved with technology.

The speakers were:

  • Francisco Pasquel, MD, MPH, professor at Atlanta-based Emory University School of Medicine and endocrinologist at Atlanta-based Grady Health System

  • Jordan Messler, MD, SFHM, FACP, executive director of clinical practice at Glytec

Drs. Pasquel and Messler discussed five key lessons Emory University and Grady Health System learned while enhancing diabetes care through technology:

  1. Insulin infusions should be administered with written or computerized protocols. Such protocols should allow for infusion rate adjustments and account for glycemic fluctuations and insulin dose targets, unlike the outdated, one-size-fits-all sliding-scale and paper protocols most hospitals use.

  2. Glucose should be continuously monitored among critically ill patients. Blood glucose levels should be monitored, whether in-person or remotely, for inpatients, especially among COVID-19 patients. Steroid use contributes to hyperglycemia, and 80 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are on steroids.

  3. Continuous glucose monitoring reduces personal protective equipment use. During the pandemic, PPE preservation and the need to reduce nurses' exposure to COVID-19 has led to less frequent blood glucose checks. Continuous glucose monitoring means abnormal levels can be automatically flagged, and patient discomfort (fingersticks) and blood loss (arterial/venous samples) can be reduced.

  4. There are continuous glucose monitoring systems that do not require calibration. The Dexcom G6 and Abbott Freestyle Libre sensors do not require calibration and are being used in multiple hospitals across North America.

  5. The FDA allows the use of remote glucose monitoring during the pandemic. Remote continuous glucose monitoring with EHR documentation to ensure validation of sensor values is feasible and effective in ICU settings. It also allows for the remote evaluation of overall performance metrics.

To learn more about Glytec, click here. To view the webinar, click here.

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