Diabetic Ketoacidosis Management in the Emergency Department: Implementation of a Protocol to Reduce Variability and Improve Safety

Richard T. Griffey, Ryan M. Schneider, Nora Malone, Charlie Peterson, Craig McCammon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Emergency departments (EDs) are the primary venue for diagnosis and initiation of treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Typically managed in an intensive care unit (ICU), in many medical centers, limited ICU bed availability necessitates DKA-extended ED management until sufficient improvement for admission to a non-ICU bed. Although DKA treatment is well established, coordinating safe and effective extended care in a busy ED is complex. Recurrent problems in this high-risk transition of care led us to improvement efforts. We studied the impact of a standardizing ED DKA management in two phases: rollout of a DKA pathway in our computerized order entry system followed by audit and feedback. We evaluated adherence, clinical process, operational, and safety measures following these interventions. Adherence to the pathway was initially slow, improving significantly after audit and feedback. We observed mixed improvements in clinical processes, no changes in operational metrics (as expected), and reductions in variability for several measures. There were no deteriorations and improvements in measures of safety, and a reduction in the number of adverse event reports in the postimplementation periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E61-E69
JournalJournal for Healthcare Quality
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

Keywords

  • diabetic ketoacidosis
  • emergency
  • patient safety
  • quality improvement

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