Participation in a mentored quality-improvement program for insulin pen safety: Opportunity to augment internal evaluation and share with peers

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Abstract

Purpose

UF Health's participation in a mentored quality-improvement impact program for health professionals as part of an ASHP initiative—“Strategies for Ensuring the Safe Use of Insulin Pens in the Hospital”—is described.

Summary

ASHP invited hospitals to participate in its initiative at a time when UF Health was evaluating the risks and benefits of insulin pen use due to external reports of safety concerns and making a commitment to continue insulin pen use and optimize safeguards. Improvement opportunities in insulin pen best practices and staff education on insulin pen preparation and injection technique were identified and implemented. The storage of insulin pens for patients with contact isolation precautions was identified as a problem in certain patient care areas, and a practical solution was devised. Other process improvements included implementation of barcode medication administration, with scanning of insulin pens designated for specific patients to avoid inadvertent and intentional sharing of pens among multiple patients. Mentored calls with teams at other hospitals conducted as part of the program provided the opportunity to share experiences and solutions to improve insulin pen use.

Conclusion

Participating with a knowledgeable mentor and other hospital teams struggling with the same issues and concerns related to safe insulin pen use facilitated problem solving. Discussing challenges and sharing ideas for solutions to safety concerns with other hospitals identified new process enhancements, which have the potential to improve the safety of insulin pen use at UF Health.

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