PURPOSE - Computerized clinical decision support systems (CDSS) for intensive insulin therapy (IIT) generate recommendations using blood glucose (BG) values manually transcribed from testing devices to computers, a potential source of error. We quantified the frequency and effect of blood glucose transcription mismatches on IIT protocol performance.
METHODS - We examined 38 months of retrospective data for patients treated with CDSS IIT in two intensive care units at one teaching hospital. A manually transcribed BG value not equal to a corresponding device value was deemed mismatched. For mismatches we recalculated CDSS recommendations using device BG values. We compared matched and mismatched data in terms of CDSS alerts, blood glucose variability, and dosing.
RESULTS - Of 189,499 CDSS IIT instances, 5.3% contained mismatched BG values. Mismatched data triggered 93 false alerts and failed to issue 170 alerts for nurses to notify physicians. Four of six BG variability measures differed between matched and mismatched data. Overall insulin dose was greater for matched than mismatched [matched 3.8 (1.6-6.0), median (interquartile range, IQR), versus 3.6 (1.6-5.7); p < 0.001], but recalculated and actual dose were similar. In mismatches preceding hypoglycemia, recalculated insulin dose was significantly lower than actual dose [recalculated 2.7 (0.4-5.0), median (IQR), versus 3.5 (1.4-5.6)]. In mismatches preceding hyperglycemia, recalculated insulin dose was significantly greater than actual dose [recalculated 4.7 (3.3-6.2), median (IQR), versus 3.3 (2.4-4.3); p < 0.001]. Administration of recalculated doses might have prevented blood glucose excursions.
CONCLUSIONS - Mismatched blood glucose values can influence CDSS IIT protocol performance.