Documentation of hypoglycemia assessment among adults with diabetes during clinical encounters in primary care and endocrinology practices

on behalf of the Hypoglycemia as a Quality Measure in Diabetes Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the proportion of diabetes-focused clinical encounters in primary care and endocrinology practices where the evaluation for hypoglycemia is documented; and when it is, identify clinicians’ stated actions in response to patient-reported events. Methods: A total of 470 diabetes-focused encounters among 283 patients nonpregnant adults (≥18 years) with type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus in this retrospective cohort study. Participants were randomly identified in blocks of treatment strategy and care location (95 and 52 primary care encounters among hypoglycemia-prone medications (i.e. insulin, sulfonylurea) and others patients, respectively; 94 and 42 endocrinology encounters among hypo-treated and others, respectively). Documentation of hypoglycemia and subsequent management plan in the electronic health record were evaluated. Results: Overall, 132 (46.6%) patients had documentation of hypoglycemia assessment, significantly more prevalent among hypo-treated patients seen in endocrinology than in primary care (72.3% vs. 47.4%; P = 0.001). Hypoglycemia was identified by patient in 38.2% of encounters. Odds of hypoglycemia assessment documentation was highest among the hypo-treated (OR 13.6; 95% CI 5.5−33.74, vs. others) and patients seen in endocrine clinic (OR 4.48; 95% CI 2.3−8.6, vs. primary care). After documentation of hypoglycemia, treatment was modified in 30% primary care and 46% endocrine clinic encounters; P = 0.31. Few patients were referred to diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES). Conclusions: Continued efforts to improve hypoglycemia evaluation, documentation, and management are needed, particularly in primary care. This includes not only screening at-risk patients for hypoglycemia, but also modifying their treatment regimens and/or leveraging DSMES.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-560
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Endocrinology
  • Healthcare quality
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Primary care
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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