Glytec Rapidly Analyzes Data to Publish Critical Medical Research During COVID-19

Glytec believes that every patient is unique, and their insulin management should be too. Thirty-four million people in the U.S. are living with diabetes, and 30%-40% of hospitalized inpatients (with or without diabetes) require insulin therapy during their hospital stay. With access to Glytec’s patented and FDA-cleared software and data reporting, healthcare providers have the analytics insights they need to improve patient outcomes, decrease length of stay and readmissions, cut instances of hypo and hyperglycemic events during hospital stays, and — contrary to popular assumptions in the healthcare space — significantly reduce the costs associated with insulin management.

Robby Booth, founder and SVP of R&D at Glytec, knew that giving the healthcare community access to the right data with the support of the right BI and analytics platform could change that dated way of thinking. And the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020 was an opportunity to do just that. With Sisense, Glytec was able to rapidly analyze patient data from health systems across the country to show how glycemic management was correlated with outcomes for people hospitalized with COVID-19.   

The problem: Educating the medical community on personalized care

Legacy practices for insulin administration aren’t typically custom-built, patient-centric processes, because personalized insulin-management programs are often thought to be too costly, time-consuming, and complex for providers to develop on their own.

Clinical practice change is not an easy mission to undertake, especially considering the heightened pressure on the medical community during COVID-19. During normal times, Robby knew that when clinicians followed the personalized care paths in their software solutions, their patients fared better, and overall costs and outcomes were improved by reducing length of stay. With the right data, the Glytec team knew it could enlighten its customers and the wider healthcare community about the impact this long-neglected issue was having on the global pandemic. Within hospitals, it’s common for providers to think that poor glycemic management is inevitable — but it’s not! The Glytec team needed the right data in the right format to show the extent of patient harm and the positive outcomes that are possible when patients are properly treated. 

Surfacing critical insights during COVID-19

In the midst of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to improve outcomes for an increased population of insulin-dependent patients by getting data into the hands of caregivers so they can quickly act on it. Low on personal protective equipment (PPE) and eager to limit exposure to patients infected with COVID-19, many hospital leaders wanted to reduce the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. 

But Glytec had a hunch — and more importantly, it had the data. Pulling patient data from 88 hospitals across the country that use its insulin management software and visualizing trends in Sisense, the team went on to release the scientific research paper Glycemic Characteristics and Clinical Outcomes of COVID-19 Patients Hospitalized in the United States. In it, the Glytec team explores the consequences of infrequent insulin monitoring and management on COVID-19 patients with underlying hyperglycemia. With a 7X mortality rate for COVID patients who enter the hospital with no glycemic issues (and then have glycemic issues during their stay) and a 4X mortality rate for COVID patients known to be living with diabetes or experiencing glycemic control issues before/when entering the hospital, they were able to make a concrete recommendation to the healthcare community: 

“The data is clear. While the shortage of PPE and frequent patient contact are a risk to healthcare establishments, appropriate glucose monitoring and management of insulin on an hourly basis is critical when compared to the potential mortality rate and the costs associated with longer hospital stays.” 

Robby Booth, GlytecRobby Booth, founder and SVP, Glytec

Leveraging Sisense, Glytec was able to track in real time the visualization of the impact of more frequent monitoring of insulin in the patient community. Beyond the study, Glytec has been able to identify hot spots and track mortality rates among the tens of thousands of patients whom its system treats on a monthly basis. What used to take a data scientist and a clinician several days to surface now takes minutes. And when it comes to insulin patient care overall, and certainly in the current pandemic landscape, minutes matter. The fast access to and analysis of data ultimately enabled Glytec to publish its research more quickly and get life-saving information into the hands of providers during the early days of the pandemic, when it really mattered.

Hero moment

At Glytec, empowering the medical community with the data it needs to question the status quo and make a case for impactful change has always been the highest priority. And the reactions to the research were resounding. 

“This research confirms that diabetes is an important risk factor for dying from COVID-19, says Bruce Bode, Diabetes Specialist at Atlanta Diabetes Associates and Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine at Emory University. It also suggests that patients with acutely uncontrolled hyperglycemia — with or without a diabetes diagnosis — are dying at a higher rate than clinicians and hospitals may recognize. It is paramount that we treat hyperglycemia in COVID-19 patients as directed by national guidelines, with subcutaneous basal-bolus insulin in most non-critically ill patients and with IV insulin in the critically ill.”