Skip to main content

A Tight Glycemic Control Initiative in a Surgical Intensive Care Unit and Hospitalwide

Buy Article:

$12.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)


Background: In 2002, tight glycemic control (TGC) was mandated at Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit) to reduce surgical site infections (SSIs).

The Five Steps for Improvement: The TGC initiative was developed in terms of the five primary steps of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) framework for leadership for improvement to drive practice change and maintain continuous improvement. In terms of Steps 1–3 (set direction, establish the foundation, and build will), in April 2002 the chief executive officer of the Henry Ford Hospital (Detroit) announced a hospitalwide initiative to reduce SSIs. For steps 4 and 5 (generate ideas and execute change), the 40-bed surgical intensive care unit (SICU) was designated the practice-change setting. TGC protocols were implemented in cardiothoracic patients, followed by all SICU patients, with target glucose ranges moving from the initial < 150 mg/dL to 80–110 mg/dL. Results showed decreases in SSIs and mortality. The project's success led to initiation of hospitalwide TGC in the next two years.

Responding to a Changing Evidence Base: In 2009, as studies began to show that the recommended glucose target of 80–110 mg/dL was not associated with clinical improvement in ICU patients and perhaps may cause harm (increased mortality), the target ranges were modified.

Lessons Learned: Barriers to adoption of new practice change must be integrated into the planning process. Leadership champions are required across multiple levels of the organization to drive change to the bedside for effective and lasting improvement.

Conclusions: A universal TGC protocol continues to be used throughout the hospital, with modifications and next-generation improvements occurring as evidence arises.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-07-01

More about this publication?
  • The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety will be published by Elsevier beginning in 2017! For readers who receive access to the journal through their institutions, the journal can now be found on ScienceDirect ( For librarians looking to subscribe to the journal for their institutions please contact your Elsevier Account Manager or visit for more information. All other readers, please visit to subscribe to the journal or to claim your access for an existing subscription.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Information for Advertisers
  • Reprints and Permissions
  • Index
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more