Lack of recognition and documentation of stress hyperglycemia is a disruptor of optimal continuity of care

Eric D. Moyer, Erik B. Lehman, Matthew D. Bolton, Jennifer Goldstein, Ariana R. Pichardo-Lowden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Stress hyperglycemia (SH) is a manifestation of altered glucose metabolism in acutely ill patients which worsens outcomes and may represent a risk factor for diabetes. Continuity of care can assess this risk, which depends on quality of hospital clinical documentation. We aimed to determine the incidence of SH and documentation tendencies in hospital discharge summaries and continuity notes. We retrospectively examined diagnoses during a 12-months period. A 3-months representative sample of discharge summaries and continuity clinic notes underwent manual abstraction. Over 12-months, 495 admissions had ≥ 2 blood glucose measurements ≥ 10 mmol/L (180 mg/dL), which provided a SH incidence of 3.3%. Considering other glucose states suggestive of SH, records showing ≥ 4 blood glucose measurements ≥ 7.8 mmol/L (140 mg/dL) totaled 521 admissions. The entire 3-months subset of 124 records lacked the diagnosis SH documentation in discharge summaries. Only two (1.6%) records documented SH in the narrative of hospital summaries. Documentation or assessment of SH was absent in all ambulatory continuity notes. Lack of documentation of SH contributes to lack of follow-up after discharge, representing a disruptor of optimal care. Activities focused on improving quality of hospital documentation need to be integral to the education and competency of providers within accountable health systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11476
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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