What Do We Do After the Pilot Is Done? Implementation of a Hospital Early Warning System at Scale

Link to article at PubMed

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2020 Apr;46(4):207-216. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjq.2020.01.003. Epub 2020 Jan 21.


BACKGROUND: Adults who deteriorate outside the ICU have high mortality. Most rapid response systems (RRSs) have employed manual detection processes that rapid response teams (RRTs) use to identify patients at risk. This project piloted the use of an automated early warning system (EWS), based on a very large database, that provides RRTs with 12 hours lead time to mount a response. Results from a 2-hospital pilot were encouraging, so leadership decided to deploy the Advance Alert Monitor (AAM) program in 19 more hospitals.

CHALLENGE: How can one deploy an RRS using an automated EWS at scale?

SOLUTION: EWS displays were removed from frontline clinicians' hospital electronic dashboards, and a Virtual Quality Team (VQT) RN was interposed between the EWS and the RRT. VQT RNs monitor the EWS remotely-when alerts are issued, they conduct a preliminary chart review and contact hospital RRT RNs. VQT and RRT RNs review the cases jointly. The RRT RNs then consult with hospitalists regarding clinical rescue and/or palliative care workflows. Subsequently, VQT RNs monitor patient charts, ensuring adherence to RRS practice standards. To enable this process, the project team developed a governance structure, clinical workflows, palliative care workflows, and documentation standards.

RESULTS: The AAM Program now functions in 21 Kaiser Permanente Northern California hospitals. VQT RNs monitor EWS alerts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The AAM Program handles ∼16,000 alerts per year. Its implementation has resulted in standardization of RRT staffing, clinical rescue workflows, and in-hospital palliative care.

PMID:32085952 | DOI:10.1016/j.jcjq.2020.01.003

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