Working reactively to help patients in need of critical care can create room for error and deterioration amongst the most vulnerable patients. That’s why Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s outreach team implemented software to identify at-risk patients earlier and notify clinical staff, who then work proactively to care for those patients.
“We’ve gone from relying on a system where people are paging us and telling us about patients, to being able to visualize these patients remotely, then deciding whether we actually need to go see them,” said Critical Care Outreach Nurse Lucie Sulman.
In the past, clinical staff at the 520-bed hospital — located in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, in England — found it difficult to assess which patients needed immediate care without observing them at all times. Now, they use Cerner’s Rapid Response dashboard for an easily comprehensible, at-a-glance view of patients.
The solution flags patients with high National Early Warning Scores (NEWS) — a method used to quickly assess the illness of a patient based primarily on vital signs. It triggers an alert for the outreach team, whose members then can quickly work with providers to assess the patient’s status and, where necessary, adjust care. This surveillance tool offers the ability to drill down into the data to view patients’ latest clinical information, intervention status, vitals and results.
“The patients are getting seen quicker, and those patients who are getting our help we wouldn’t have even known about before,” said Sulman.
The improved quality of care also improved patient outcomes. Since the dashboard’s introduction in April 2016, Kingston staff saw a 19 percent increase in patients seen by the outreach team as of October 2016. This resulted in reduced length of stay for patients with a NEWS score of five or above (higher risk for deterioration) by an average of 6.13 days.
“Using Rapid Response improved patient safety, it’s improved the number of patients we see, it’s improved the time in which we reach patients who need our help and it’s improved the quality of data selection,” said Sulman.