A Pharmacist-Driven Glycemic Control Protocol to Reduce the Rate of Severe Hypoglycemia in High-Risk Patients

Colleen A. Cook, Victor Vakayil, Kyle Pribyl, Derek Yerxa, John Kriz, Angie Case, Steven Meisel, Tammy Ho, James V. Harmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Hospital pharmacists contribute to patient safety and quality initiatives by overseeing the prescribing of antidiabetic medications. A pharmacist-driven glycemic control protocol was developed to reduce the rate of severe hypoglycemia events (SHE) in high-risk hospitalized patients. Methods: We retrospectively analyzed the rates of SHE (defined as blood glucose ≤40 mg/dL), before and after instituting a pharmacist-driven glycemic control protocol over a 4-year period. A hospital glucose management team that included a lead Certified Diabetes Educator Pharmacist (CDEP), 5 pharmacists trained in diabetes, a lead hospitalist, critical care and hospital providers established a process to first identify patients at risk for severe hypoglycemia and then implement our protocol. Criteria from the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists was utilized to identify and treat patients at risk for SHE. We analyzed and compared the rate of SHE and physician acceptance rates before and after protocol initiation. Results: From January 2015 to March 2019, 18 297 patients met criteria for this study; 139 patients experienced a SHE and approximately 80% were considered high risk diabetes patients. Physician acceptance rates for the new protocol ranged from 77% to 81% from the year of initiation (2016) through 2018. The absolute risk reduction of SHE was 9 events per 1000 hospitalized diabetic patients and the relative risk reduction was 74% SHE from the start to the end of the protocol implementation. Linear regression analysis demonstrated that SHE decreased by 1.5 events per 1000 hospitalized diabetic patients (95% confidence interval, −1.54 to −1.48, P <.001) during the 2 years following the introduction of the protocol. This represents a 15% relative reduction of SHE per year. Conclusion: The pharmacist-driven glycemic control protocol was well accepted by our hospitalists and led to a significant reduction in SHE in high-risk diabetes patient groups at our hospital. It was cost effective and strengthened our physician-pharmacist relationship while improving diabetes care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
JournalHospital Pharmacy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors appreciate the support provided by Blake Tranby-Laudahl, PharmD and the M Health Fairview Ridges Hospital inpatient pharmacy team. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • glycemic control
  • insulin pumps
  • pharmacist driven protocol
  • severe hypoglycemia
  • steroid induced hyperglycemia

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


Dive into the research topics of 'A Pharmacist-Driven Glycemic Control Protocol to Reduce the Rate of Severe Hypoglycemia in High-Risk Patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this