In an Australian first, the Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) has introduced new technology that will uncover the true extent of diabetes in hospital.
Diabetes is emerging as one of the greatest health care challenges of the 21st century. In 2014, more than 1.2 million Australians had been diagnosed with diabetes, and the number was expected to significantly increase in the next decade.
In Australia one quarter of hospital inpatients have diabetes and up to 10 per cent of patients present to hospital without knowing they have diabetes.
While glucose meters are not new, the RMH are the first Australian hospital to implement a networked glucose meter allowing for electronic monitoring and surveillance of all inpatients’ glucose levels during their entire hospital stay.
The electronically linked networked blood glucose meters provide real-time information on patients glucose measures to specialist inpatient diabetes teams, enabling safer and better care during their hospital stay.
Associate Professor Spiros Fourlanos, Director of the RMH Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology Director stated “This electronic system enables specialist inpatient diabetes teams to identify in real-time which patients are in trouble with very high or low blood glucose to expedite early individualised treatment of diabetes”
Monitoring these patients more intensively with electronic surveillance will enable safer care and improve hospital outcomes for people with diabetes such as decreasing hospital-acquired infection”.
RMH Endocrinologist Dr Mervyn Kyi, lead author of a benchmarking study of inpatient diabetes recently published in the Medical Journal of Australia said it’s hoped the roll out of a comprehensive networked blood glucose meter system at the RMH will promote consistent reporting and benchmarking standards across other hospitals in Australia.
The installation of the meters follows a world-first RMH study involving more than 1000 patients which found early intervention improved blood glucose levels and significantly reduced hospital-acquired infections in people with diabetes.
“Given the increasing numbers of people with diabetes admitted to hospital, networked glucose meter systems will be essential in improving patient outcomes, and decreasing health-care costs associated with diabetes,” Dr Kyi said.