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Pediatr Qual Saf. 2019 Jul 22;4(4):e194. doi: 10.1097/pq9.0000000000000194. eCollection 2019 Jul-Aug.

A Quality Initiative Reducing Adverse Outcomes in Pediatric Patients with DKA During Intrafacility Transit.

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Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, Ohio.
Pediatric Emergency Department, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio.



Treatment of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) requires close and timely monitoring to prevent serious adverse events. This quality improvement project details how our institution improved blood glucose monitoring around hospital admission. The project aimed to increase the blood glucose assessments for children with DKA receiving insulin in the emergency department (ED) within 30 minutes before transitioning to an inpatient unit.


We implemented a series of Plan-Do-Survey-Act (PDSA) cycles established by a multidisciplinary team for this project, with the primary outcome of obtaining the blood glucose level within 30 minutes before leaving the ED and secondarily preventing episodes of hypoglycemia. These PDSAs harnessed the electronic health record, to prompt and direct the medical staff, to improve blood glucose monitoring.


From March 2015 to November 2017, we saw 640 patients in our ED for DKA. Of these, we admitted 629 to the inpatient unit with treatment that included continuous infusion of insulin. Over this period, we increased blood glucose monitoring for these patients within 30 minutes before the transition from 56% to >90%. Following the final PDSA cycle, we observed no reported episodes of hypoglycemia.


Using the functionality of the electronic health record, we showed significant, rapid, and sustained increases in compliance with the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes guideline by alerting ED staff caring for patients receiving continuous insulin around the time of care-team transitions. We believe that this program is easily replicable, cost-effective, and safety enhancing.

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