The Need to Jumpstart Care for People with Diabetes in Hospital Settings

-Sony Salzman

In a previous T1D Exchange Glu post, Admetsys CEO Jeff Valk discussed how his company’s proposed dual-hormone glucose control system has the potential to cut down the workload of hospital nurses caring for patients with diabetes. Valk also believes the Admetsys system, which is currently being tested in clinical trials, may be able to improve clinical outcomes for people with diabetes in a hospital setting.  

For patients recovering in the critical care unit, glycemic imbalances could be deadly, he said.

Unfortunately, hospitals are still monitoring diabetes with finger pricks and laboratory tests, which slows the speed of care. A nurse may take six to seven minutes to monitor and adjust medication for each patient, and this has to be done every hour, Valk said.  

“In a hospital, the standard of care is exactly what it was 30 years ago,” Valk said, CEO of Admetsys.

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According to the American Diabetes Association, the cost of diabetes-related care reached $327 billion, and medical costs for people with diabetes account for one in four healthcare dollars spent in the U.S. One setting where that high cost plays out dramatically is hospital intensive care units (ICUs). People with diabetes may be quite adept at managing their blood sugar at home, but they often have to hand over that management to hospital staff, who may not understand all the unique challenges of each individual’s blood sugar management.

It should also be noted that the trauma that lands one in critical care may actually induce diabetes, or at least hyperglycemia. A 2016 study found that 17 percent of patients without diabetes went on to develop hyperglycemia within the first 24 hours of being admitted to ICU.

The lack of progress of caring for people with diabetes in the hospital is a large part of why Valk’s team is designing and developing an artificial pancreas system specifically for critical care units, one that they hope will improve outcomes and free up time for nurses. Their idea and design won second place in the T1D Exchange Glu Diabetes Innovation Challenge in 2016. T1D Exchange Glu will be tracking the company’s progress as they undergo pivotal clinical trials in the U.S. and Europe.

You can read more about those trials and the genesis for the idea of the Admetsys system here


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