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27 Feb 2020

How Clinical Workflow and Early Detection Technologies Transform Patient Care

Time is a precious commodity inside hospital walls. According to the European Journal of Anaesthesiology, ​each hour of delay in admitting a patient to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is associated with a 1.5% increase in the risk of death in the ICU and a 1% increase in hospital mortality.1

To protect patients and reduce the risk of serious medical complications, healthcare providers are turning to enhanced monitoring technologies that identify the early signs of patient decline and provide actionable insights for care teams. These technologies can also help streamline critical response protocols and reduce medical errors. ​While hospital errors can become extremely costly, there is also the challenge of ensuring that patient care teams have been properly trained to identify at-risk patients.

With limited resources, how can hospitals improve early detection methods and better train providers on response protocols to significantly reduce risk?

Here’s a look into the cost of medical errors, how to identify at-risk patients at the first sign of serious decline, and how ​clinical workflow technologies can​ help reduce medical errors and preventable catastrophic events.

The Cost of Medical Errors and Delayed Recognition

Medical error rates are significantly higher in the U.S. compared to other developed countries.2 In fact, these errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S— following heart disease and cancer. A significant portion of medical fatalities correlate to a lack of in-hospital patient monitoring. Illustrating the severity of the matter, a recent study found that ​48% ​ of hospital-related errors cause patient harm.3 Furthermore, only ​15% ​ of the actions taken by hospitals in response to these reported errors involved overall system changes.4 As these findings suggest, major barriers within traditional clinical workflows need to be overcome in order to improve patient care.

Additionally, medical errors could result in patients’ loss of trust in providers, as well as within the organizations in which they serve. Damage control and rebuilding a reputation take time and money. A course of action that helps in avoiding errors is the early identification of at-risk patients.

Understanding the Monitoring & Documentation Workflow

One of the first steps in identifying at-risk patients is documenting changes in ​vital signs​. Care teams need immediate and actionable information, should a patient’s health start to decline. Identifying at-risk patients early in the care-continuum ensures that they receive the highest quality of care, while limiting the spread of infection to other parts of the body or to other people.

Real-time bedside monitoring and documentation allows providers to strategically monitor patients and send their vital signs to the EMR immediately. This streamlined approach to quality patient care allows for providers to focus on direct, face-to-face treatment, while enabling protocols for swift action in the event a patient’s health begins to decline.

By automating the documentation process, transcription errors are reduced, while clinician satisfaction and patient confidence increase. With timely and efficient electronic vital sign data, actionable insights are quickly analyzed in order to develop or restructure a treatment plan. With a single patient monitor screen to log in, pull up past vitals information, measure, and validate new vitals signs, clinical workflows improve.

Patient Care for At-Risk Patients

As an added component to real-time vitals monitoring and documentation, the implementation of an Early Warning Scoring System (EWSS) is a major part of early detection amongst at-risk patients and is often the difference between life and death for many.

The EWSS is a hospital-configured scoring system built to identify patients’ whose health may be worsening, and guide providers at the bedside. The EWSS displays a health score, which also could be sent to the alarm management system to activate the rapid response team and provide step-by-step intervention tips that may prove to be lifesaving treatment. The EWSS eliminates manual calculations while reducing guesswork and lag time, helping care teams respond quickly and appropriately to limit “code” situations at the bedside.

Patient Care for At-Risk Patients

Effective use of workflow-enhancing and early detection technologies can help protect patients and increase day-to-day operating efficiencies. ​By consolidating and standardizing documentation and accelerating the analysis of patient data, Capsule brings enhanced monitoring, patient safety, and timeliness to the forefront of the patient care continuum. Actionable insights provided by these technologies can also help to reduce workflow complexities and support timely interventions. With Capsule’s streamlined data initiatives, providers can continuously improve response protocols and patient outcomes.

With the help of Capsule’s integrated monitoring and documentation technologies, your team of providers gets access to real-time vitals data and contextual information, reducing charting time from hours to minutes and allowing users to validate data directly at the bedside ​— ​enabling time-sensitive decision-making.

Ready to take a deep dive to understand how advanced technology like Vitals Plus with EWSS can benefit your organization thanks to its advanced functionality? Check out the ​product brief.

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Anderson JG, Abrahamson K.Your Health Care May Kill You: Medical Errors. Study Health Technol Inform. 2017;234:13-17
Perman SM, Stanton E, Soar J, et al. Location of In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in the United States-Variability in Event Rate and Outcomes. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016;5(10):e003638. Published 2016 Sep 29.
J.G. Anderson, Regional patient safety initiatives: The missing element of organizational change. In Kushniruk and E.M. Borycki (eds.), The Human and Social Side of Health Information Systems, Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing, 2008 pp. 165-177.

Enhanced surveillance and early detection can make all the difference