A recent quality improvement study has shown that a simple intervention by healthcare providers can significantly reduce the risk of hypoglycemia in older adults with type 2 diabetes. The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, revealed that this intervention led to a nearly 50% reduction in older patients at risk for hypoglycemia and resulted in the de-escalation of diabetes medications that cause low blood sugar in 20% of participants.
Older adults aged 65 and above are already at higher risk for hypoglycemia due to being overtreated with insulin and other diabetes medications. Severe hypoglycemia can lead to adverse events such as falls, seizures, coma, and even death. It is the second most common adverse drug event resulting in emergency room visits and hospitalizations for older people with diabetes.
The study showcases the effectiveness of a low-cost clinical decision support tool in reducing hypoglycemia risk. This tool does not require the use of continuous glucose monitoring technology. By assessing hypoglycemic risk, setting individualized blood sugar level goals, and reducing or discontinuing hypoglycemic medications, healthcare providers were able to decrease the at-risk population by 46% and discontinue medication use in 20% of participants.
Moreover, participants reported significant improvements in their daily functioning, emotional well-being, diabetes management, sleep disruption, and work productivity, thanks to the reduction in non-severe hypoglycemic events.
The success of this intervention suggests that the clinical decision support tool could be implemented in other primary care settings to minimize the risk of hypoglycemia and enhance the overall well-being of older adults with type 2 diabetes.
The study was part of the larger Hypoglycemia Prevention Initiative, a joint effort by the Endocrine Society and Avalere Health, aimed at determining best practices in primary care for reducing the impact of hypoglycemia in older adults with type 2 diabetes. The initiative also involved the development of quality measures to help providers improve patient care.
Overall, this study highlights the importance of implementing interventions that can effectively reduce the risk of hypoglycemia in older adults with type 2 diabetes, thereby improving their health outcomes and quality of life.
– Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
– Endocrine Society
– Avalere Health