J Intensive Care. 2021 Dec 7;9(1):73. doi: 10.1186/s40560-021-00588-y.
BACKGROUND: Timely recognition of warning signs from deteriorating patients and proper treatment are important in improving patient safety. In comparison to the traditional medical emergency team (MET) activation triggered by phone calls, automated activation of MET may minimize activation delays. However, limited data are available on the effects of automated activation systems on the time from derangement to MET activation and on clinical outcomes. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of an automated alert and activation system for MET on clinical outcomes in unselected hospitalized patients.
METHODS: This is an observational study using prospectively collected data from consecutive patients managed by the MET at a university-affiliated, tertiary hospital from March 2013 to December 2019. The automated alert system automatically calculates the Modified Early Warning Score (MEWS) and subsequently activates MET when the MEWS score is 7 or higher, which was implemented since August 2016. The outcome measures of interest including hospital mortality in patients with MEWS of 7 or higher were compared between pre-implementation and post-implementation groups of the automated alert and activation system in the primary analysis. The association between the implementation of the system and hospital mortality was evaluated with logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS: Of the 7678 patients who were managed by MET during the study period, 639 patients during the pre-implementation period and 957 patients during the post-implementation period were included in the primary analysis. MET calls due to abnormal physiological variables were more common during the pre-implementation period, while MET calls due to medical staff's worries or concern about the patient's condition were more common during the post-implementation period. The median time from deterioration to MET activation was significantly shortened in the post-implementation period compared to the pre-implementation period (34 min vs. 60 min, P < 0.001). In addition, unplanned ICU admission rates (41.2% vs. 71.8%, P < 0.001) was reduced during the post-implementation period. Hospital mortality was decreased after implementation of the automated alert system (27.2% vs. 38.5%, P < 0.001). The implementation of the automated alert and activation system was associated with decreased risk of death in the multivariable analysis (adjusted OR 0.73, 95% CI 0.56-0.90).
CONCLUSIONS: After implementing an automated alert and activation system, the time from deterioration to MET activation was shortened and clinical outcomes were improved in hospitalized patients.