Six Sigma Diabetes Project Moves
to Implementation Stage
Findings from a Froedtert & Medical College Six Sigma project that examined insulin use by hospitalized patients are now being implemented as standard protocol. The project’s goal was to develop methods for eliminating or reducing the frequency and severity of low blood glucose levels – without inducing high blood glucose levels in hospitalized patients who were being treated with insulin.
These patients were hospitalized due to a secondary diagnosis, such as heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, or they were going to have surgery. "Scientific research tells us that if we can keep blood sugar levels normal during the time patients are hospitalized, we can have a marked impact on reducing mortality and complications," says Beth Lanham, RN, a Six Sigma “master black belt” and the project’s coordinator.
The project’s methodology includes protocols for using oral diabetic medications and continuous insulin infusion for hospitalized patients. Additionally, an automated system reduces the potential for transcription errors in hand-written physician orders. A hypoglycemia treatment protocol also provides nurses with a standardized method for recognizing and treating low blood sugar.
Six Sigma is a quality improvement strategy commonly used in industry and manufacturing to reduce errors by eliminating variations in processes. Says Lanham, "Froedtert & Medical College is a frontrunner and one of only a handful of healthcare institutions nationally to apply Six Sigma to medical error reduction."
Source: Froedtert Today
Date: March 2004