Evaluating the effect of inpatient diabetes education on length of stay, readmission rates and mortality rates: a systematic review

Zeeshan Hussain, Mohammed Alkharaiji, Iskandar Idris


Background: Hospitalised patients with diabetes experience a longer duration of inpatient stay, increased readmission rates and excess mortality compared with patients without diabetes.

Objectives: To determine whether inpatient diabetes education (IDE), provided to hospitalised patients with diabetes, is an effective intervention in improving one or all of the following clinical outcomes: length of stay (LOS), readmission rate and mortality rate.

Methods: A free-text search on MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL, BNI and EMBASE was conducted on literature published from the date of each databases’ inception to March 2019. In addition, grey literature was used to support the search with the following key terms: ‘IDE’, ‘LOS’, ‘readmission’ and ‘mortality’, along with their possible substitutes and alternatives combined.

Results: In total, eight studies met the inclusion criteria with a total number of 3,828 participants. Seven studies investigated LOS outcome for which accumulated mean LOS and median LOS were both lower (16.5% and 26.67%, respectively) in the IDE group compared with the non-IDE group. Six studies investigated readmittance rates, for which accumulated readmission rate (up to 12 months) was 15.9% lower in the IDE group than in the non-IDE group. Finally, the mortality rate was 36.6% lower in the IDE group compared with the non-IDE group, but this was non-significant and only one study reported this outcome.

Conclusion: The findings of this review support the efficacy of an IDE programme in a hospital setting by reducing LOS and readmission rates in patients with diabetes. In addition, a possible trend towards a decreased mortality rate was observed. IDE is therefore recommended to improve clinical outcomes of hospitalised patients with diabetes.


inpatient diabetes, education, length of stay, readmission rate, mortality, systematic review

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15277/bjd.2020.256


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