Interventions to improve care team situation awareness (SA) are associated with reduced rates of unrecognized clinical deterioration in hospitalized children. By addressing themes from recent safety events and emerging corruptors to SA in our system, we aimed to decrease emergency transfers (ETs) to the ICU by 50% over 10 months.
An interdisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, and families convened to improve the original SA model for clinical deterioration and address communication inadequacies and evolving technology in our inpatient system. The key drivers included the establishment of a shared mental model, psychologically safe escalation, and efficient and effective SA tools. Novel interventions including the intentional inclusion of families and the interdisciplinary team in huddles, a mental model checklist, door signage, and an electronic health record SA navigator were evaluated via a time series analysis. Sequential inpatient-wide testing of the model allowed for iteration and consensus building across care teams and families. The primary outcome measure was ETs, defined as any ICU transfer in which the patient receives intubation, inotropes, or ≥3 fluid boluses within 1 hour.
The rate of ETs per 10 000 patient-days decreased from 1.34 to 0.41 during the study period. This coincided with special cause improvement in process measures, including risk recognition before medical response team activation and the use of tools to facilitate shared SA.
An innovative, proactive, and reliable process to predict, prevent, and respond to clinical deterioration was associated with a nearly 70% reduction in ETs.