Clinical deterioration in the condition of patients with acute medical illness in Australian hospitals: improving detection and response.
Med J Aust. 2011 Jun 6;194(11):596-8
Authors: Jenkins PF, Thompson CH, Barton LL
Medical Assessment Units (MAUs) provide an opportunity for multidisciplinary staff to manage recently admitted acutely unwell patients with complex medical illnesses. We propose concerted development of robust mechanisms for identifying and managing patients whose condition is unstable as they move through hospital departments. Track, trigger and response (TTR) systems (eg, medical emergency team calls and early warning scores) have been introduced to hospital practice, but evidence for their effectiveness is, so far, incomplete. The current variation in TTR systems within and between hospitals impairs intersite comparisons. A range of outcome measures, including risk of physiological deterioration, mortality and projected hospital length of stay, could be usefully investigated by future intersite collaborative research. More deliberate, systematic, evidence-based design of "response" in TTR systems may help in identifying patients who need early attention from skilled medical staff. We need more uniform TTR systems, more research on TTR systems and more multisite research; MAUs are ideally situated to address this important area.
PMID: 21644875 [PubMed - in process]