Research paper|Articles in Press

Impact of an emergency department rapid response system on inpatient clinical deterioration: A controlled pre-post study



      To determine the impact implementation of Emergency Department Clinical Emergency Response System (EDCERS) on inpatient deterioration events and identify contributing causal factors.


      EDCERS was implemented in an Australian regional hospital, integrating a single parameter track and trigger criteria for escalation of care, and emergency, specialty and critical care clinician response to patient deterioration. In this controlled pre-post study, electronic medical records of patients who experienced a deterioration event (rapid response call, cardiac arrest or unplanned intensive care admission) on the ward within 72 h of admission from the emergency department (ED) were reviewed. Causal factors contributing to the deteriorating event were assessed using a validated human factors framework.


      Implementation of EDCERS reduced the number of inpatient deterioration events within 72 h of emergency admission with failure or delayed response to ED patient deterioration as a causal factor. There was no change in the overall rate of inpatient deterioration events.


      This study supports wider implementation of rapid response systems in the ED to improve management of deteriorating patients. Tailored implementation strategies should be used to achieve successful and sustainable uptake of ED rapid response systems and improve outcomes in deteriorating patients.


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