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Intensive Crit Care Nurs. 2010 Jun;26(3):161-8. doi: 10.1016/j.iccn.2010.03.001.

Computerisation of a paper-based intravenous insulin protocol reduces errors in a prospective crossover simulated tight glycaemic control study.

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Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC, United States.



Paper-based continuous intravenous insulin protocols for tight glycaemic control (TGC) are typically complex, error-prone, time-consuming and burdensome. Little is known about the errors that occur as a result of misinterpretation and whether computerised protocols reduce errors.


To compare the errors resulting from protocol misinterpretation, time required to manage insulin infusions and nursing satisfaction between a computerised insulin protocol and a paper-based protocol.


In a crossover study, 62 ICU nurses completed 10 TGC simulated scenarios for the computerised and paper protocols. Scenarios evaluated three phases of insulin management: initiation, titration and transition. Scenarios response errors, time to completion and user satisfaction were examined.


A total of 620 responses were recorded using both protocols. The computerised protocols were associated with higher user satisfaction, as well as: fewer errors in the titration (13 vs. 113 errors, p=.0001) and transition phases (9 vs. 23 errors, p=.001), fewer dosing errors, although not statistically significant (p=.096), in the initiation phase, and less time to complete in the titration phase (6 vs. 9.5 min, p=.0001).


In a simulated environment, a computerised protocol for TGC resulted in significant insulin dosing error reduction, saved time and improved nurse satisfaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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