A study published today in the open access journal BMC MedicalInformatics and Decision Making reports that GRIP, a computersoftware that assists in the monitoring of glucose levels incritically ill patients, saves nurses time and effort and is moreefficient than the paper-based method currently used in manyintensive care units (ICUs). Monitoring blood glucose levels isnecessary to avoid stress hyperglycemia, an insulin resistancecondition that causes glucose levels to go up and has been shown todecrease patient survival. GRIP will be released as open sourcesoftware.
Mathijs Vogelzang and colleagues from University Medical CenterGroningen in the Netherlands implemented GRIP in a 12-bed ICU, forfour months. GRIP monitors glucose levels and recommends theappropriate insulin pump rate and the time at which the next bloodsample should be taken, and indicates situations in which a physicianneeds to be notified. In many ICUs, nurses currently monitor glucose levels manually ten to twelve times a day and record their measurements on paper. A total of 179 patients were monitored using GRIP and 22nurses filled in a questionnaire about the program.
Vogelzang et al.'s results show that 61% of the patients had theright glucose levels more than 75% of the time that they weremonitored by GRIP. Only one patient suffered from very low glucoselevels, and that was due to human error. Nurses found GRIP easy touse and all agreed that it is an improvement over the paper-basedmethod. Because they only have to control patients six times a daywith GRIP, they can monitor more patients and they do not have tocall a physician as often as with the current method.