A Novel Bedside-Focused Ward Surveillance and Response System
Background Rapid response systems (RRSs) have been universally adopted in much of the developed world; yet, despite broad implementation, their success has often been limited. Even with successful systems, there is a small body of evidence regarding effective organizational elements that are responsible for improved outcomes. New organizational processes were implemented that restructured the existing RRS, and the impact on the number of rapid response team (RRT) alerts, cardiac arrest, and mortality rates was evaluated. Methods A prospective five-year before-and-after comparison of adult ward patient outcomes was conducted at a community regional medical center. The key intervention was expanded administrative oversight of the system, which led to (1) restructuring the content and depth of ward nurse education regarding early recognition of at-risk patients; (2) system changes empowering prompt mobilization of the RRT; (3) development of RRT treatment protocols; and (4) a more frequent and comprehensive data collection and analysis for system compliance and performance improvement. Results Some 28,914 patients were observed in the 24-month control period, and 39,802 patients were observed in the 33-month intervention period. RRT activations increased from 10.2 to 48.8/1,000 discharges ( p 0.001), ward cardiac arrest decreased from 3.1 to. 2.4/1000 discharges ( p = 0.04), hospital mortality decreased from 3.8% to 3.2% ( p 0.001), and the observed-to-expected ratio decreased from 1.5 to 1.0 ( p 0.001). Conclusion Expanded administrative involvement of an existing RRS that focused on early recognition of patient deterioration by the bedside nurse led to improved performance of the system, with a significant increase in number of RRTs and decreases in cardiac arrests and hospital mortality.
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