Collaborative Research Team Investigates a Diabetes Education Program

Female clinician standing at the bedside of a male patient lying in hospital bed, taking his pulse

Recently published research investigated the potential of a diabetes education program aimed at educating hospital inpatients to better manage their Type 2 diabetes by leveraging technology. “Redesigning Hospital Diabetes Education: A Qualitative Evaluation With Nursing Teams” was published in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality. The study sought to identify barriers to implementing a technology-based system, Diabetes to Go, to deliver diabetes survival skills education while patients are in the hospital.

The collaborative research team included Kelly M. Smith, PhD and Kelley M. Baker, MA from the MedStar Institute for Quality and Safety; Joan K. Bardsley, MBA, RN, CDE from MedStar Health Research Institute/MedStar Corporate Nursing; Patricia McCartney, PhD, RN, from MedStar Washington Hospital Center; and Michelle Magee, MD, from MedStar Diabetes Institute/MedStar Health Research Institute.

The study utilized focus groups and semi-structured interviews with nurses, nurse managers, and patient care technicians from three medical-surgical units and two behavioral health units. The goal was to identify barriers or concerns in implementation, and four themes emerged: educational content, platform usability, tablet feasibility, and workflow considerations. For each of the perceived barriers, the study team identified potential solutions to address them. It was also noted that there are specific challenges for education in a behavioral health unit compared to a medical-surgical unit.

The study concluded that “challenges and opportunities exist for integrating tablet-delivered diabetes survival skills education into standard nursing care workflow on inpatient units” and noted that strategies for pragmatic implementation must address the key areas of concern.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health—National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (R34: R34DK109503). Dr. Smith also received funding from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number UL1TR001409.

Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 2018. DOI: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000349