Bridgeport Hospital team earns prestigious quality award for improving care of patients with low blood sugar

Friday, June 15, 2018
BRIDGEPORT, CT (June 15, 2018) – Bridgeport Hospital has received the prestigious John D. Thompson Award for Excellence in the Delivery of Healthcare Through the Use of Data from the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) for its initiative: Reducing Severe Hypoglycemia in Hospitalized Patients With Diabetes Mellitus. The award was presented during CHA’s annual meeting June 14 in Southington.

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in hospitalized patients is associated with increased length of hospital stay, readmission rates, and mortality. Bridgeport Hospital organized a team of physicians, nurses, patient care technicians, pharmacists, dietitians and others to study the incidence of critical hypoglycemia in hospitalized patients.

“Across the country, we noticed there were many cases of hypoglycemia that dramatically impacted patient care, “said Ryan O’Connell, MD, Bridgeport Hospital vice president, Performance and Risk Management. “It was a call to action for us. We decided there needed to be a single pathway for managing the care of hypoglycemic patients and have the entire care team agree on it.”

Clinical redesign work started with Catherine Araque, MD, a former Bridgeport Hospital resident and current endocrinology fellow at the National Institutes of Health. Other key participants included Gregory Buller, MD, Bridgeport Hospital associate chief medical officer and chair, department of Medicine; Deepak Kana Kadayakkara, MBBS, and Priya Balasubramanian, MBBS, both former internal medicine residents and now attending physicians; Peg Parniawski, MSN, director, Patient Care Operations; and Kim Falsetti, MSN, Performance Management coordinator.

“We looked at the scope of the problem to see how well we responded to patients with low blood sugar, for example, how rapidly we checked blood sugar test results,” said Dr. Buller. The team took steps that dramatically decreased the incidence and duration of hypoglycemia as well as the in-hospital recurrence rate. Additionally, the group showed that improved care of patients with critical hypoglycemia results in a decrease in the readmission rate.

“The impact on patient care has been tremendous,” said Dr. Kana Kadayakkara. “There has been a significant reduction in the readmission rate. I’m convinced that if we perform certain processes in a systematic fashion, we can not only achieve benefits that we hoped for but others we didn’t anticipate.”

The engagement of a much wider hospital-wide team of physicians, nurses and others was an important reason for the success of the initiative, according to Dr. Buller.

“To really change quality and improve the care we provide, we need to be multidisciplinary,” said Michael Ivy, MD, chief medical officer, Bridgeport Hospital, and deputy chief medical officer, Yale New Haven Health. “We need everybody, from physicians, nurses and technicians to our laboratory and pharmacy professionals, to be involved and engaged so they can feel a sense of ownership.”

“This successful initiative proves that data-driven analysis and the collaborative development of solutions is the best approach to enhancing patient safety and quality,” said William M. Jennings, president and CEO of Bridgeport Hospital and executive vice president, Yale New Haven Health. “I’m proud we took the foundation of high reliability and used it to improve the care of patients we serve every day.”

Bridgeport Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health, is a non-profit 501-bed acute care hospital with two campuses (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital). Its Bridgeport and Milford Campuses serve patients from across the region. The hospital admits more than 23,000 patients and provides nearly 350,000 outpatient treatments annually. The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is the only burn center in the state and one of only 64 verified burn centers in the United States. Bridgeport Hospital is committed to providing safe, compassionate and cost efficient care to its patients and the community.