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The impact of introducing the early warning scoring system and protocol on clinical outcomes in tertiary referral university hospital

Authors Sutherasan Y, Theerawit P, Suporn A, Nongnuch A, Phanachet P, Kositchaiwat C

Received 18 June 2018

Accepted for publication 8 September 2018

Published 23 October 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 2089—2095

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/TCRM.S175092

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh


Yuda Sutherasan,1 Pongdhep Theerawit,1 Alongkot Suporn,2 Arkom Nongnuch,3 Pariya Phanachet,4 Chomsri Kositchaiwat5

1Division of Pulmonary and Pulmonary Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; 2Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; 3Renal Unit, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; 4Division of Nutrition and Biochemical Medicine, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; 5Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of a hospital protocol in response to patient deterioration in general wards, stratified using the national early warning score (NEWS), on primary patient outcomes of in-hospital mortality and percentage of patients transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU).
Patients and methods: We conducted a prospective observational cohort study among adult medical patients admitted to a university hospital in Bangkok. A 4-month pre-protocol period (November 2015 to February 2016) was assigned to a control group and a protocol period (March 2016 to June 2016) was allocated to a protocol group. On admission, vital signs (respiratory rate, pulse rate, systolic blood pressure, and temperature), oxygen saturation, presence of oxygen supplementation, and neurological status were used to calculate NEWS. Patients were categorized as low, moderate, or high risk based on the NEWS. During protocol period, when patients’ conditions are critical and they are at imminent risk, the NEWS detects the event and triggers a systematic response. The response enables closed monitoring and early treatment by expert physicians to rapidly stabilize and triage the patient to a location where services meet the patient’s needs. Primary outcomes were compared between the pre-protocol and protocol groups using historical controls for the intervention, which is the availability of NEWS to staff and an associated escalation pathway.
Results: A total of 1,145 patients were included in the analysis: 564 patients in the pre-protocol group and 581 in the protocol group. The mean NEWS of patients at admission was higher in the protocol group than in the pre-protocol group (2.4±2.4 vs 1.77±2.158; P<0.001). There was no significant difference for in-hospital mortality and percentage of patients transferred to ICU between the groups. Among 95 (8.3%) patients at moderate risk, in-hospital mortality and ICU transfer percentage were lower in the protocol group than in the pre-protocol group (2.9 vs 15.4%; P=0.026; RR 0.188, 95% CI 0.037%–0.968% and 8.7 vs 26.9%; P=0.021; RR 0.322, 95% CI 0.12–0.87, respectively).
Conclusion: Implementing the NEWS with the hospital protocol did not change the overall patient’s outcomes.

Keywords: health service administration, mortality, patient safety, quality improvement, rapid response system, early warning score

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