PeraHealth Insights

Shifting from Reactive to Proactive Rapid Response Teams



Assisting patients and other consumers of care to achieve optimal health is a complex task faced by healthcare professionals. Yet, in order to so do, care teams are frequently equipped with outdated tools, siloed information, and cumbersome electronic medical records. Because of these limitations, clinicians often can’t see a complete view of their patient’s condition, but rather fragmented information that isn’t integrated to paint a full picture. This leaves clinicians reacting to what has, or is, happening rather than proactively treating what would happen.

Rapid response teams (RRTs), by nature, approach calls reactively. When a patient suffers from a respiratory, cardiac or other unexpected deterioration in condition, a nurse, other member of the care team, or family member initiates a rapid response call. The burden then falls on the RRT to address the situation immediately; usually equipped with a partial, if not incomplete, picture of the patient’s overall health.

If hospitals utilize predictive analytics to monitor for early warning signs of patient deterioration, they can change the nature of RRTs, making them proactive, rather than reactive, thereby mitigating urgent and emergent situations.

Why Utilize a Proactive, Predictive Approach?

Predictive tools should leverage all health data available to provide a comprehensive picture of the patient’s condition in real time. By combining information from a patient’s vital signs and lab results, as well as head to toe nursing and other clinical assessments, care providers get a more complete picture of a patient’s health – enabling them to proactively monitor for and address any signs of deterioration.

For example, the Rothman Index generates an objective patient score using health data in the electronic health record and from clinical assessments, which stays with each individual patient during their entire hospital stay. This score represents a patient’s condition in real time, and can be trended and visualized, warning care providers of deterioration before the situation becomes critical.

By definition, reactionary responses take place after a situation has already escalated. The best way to avoid medical emergencies is to proactively prevent them in the first place. Comprehensive predictive surveillance tools, like the Rothman Index, enable RRTs to move from a reactive to a proactive approach.

Limiting Rapid Response Calls

Without the insights predictive tools offer, a patient’s care team would be unable to identify potential risk of deterioration. With analytics however, the care team would have a more complete understanding of their patient’s condition.

Utilizing predictive tools to provide proactive care through early intervention can not only significantly reduce RRT calls, but also decrease patient mortality rates. They enable a shift towards more prognostic care within hospitals and, as an added bonus, this approach also allows for enhancement to decision-making relative to bed utilization, ICU optimization, prevention of readmissions, surveillance among care teams, and management of general clinical deterioration in a proactive, not reactive, manner.