Rapid Response System for Non-ICU Patients

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) launched the Rapid Response System (RRS) with the aim of identifying clinically deteriorating non-ICU patients and initiating interventions to prevent further decline.

The RRS provides a patient’s care team with a set of early warning criteria to help identify change in that patient’s clinical condition and call for help as soon as possible.

Once a member of the patient’s care team identifies a change in the patient’s clinical condition, a multidisciplinary team of clinicians is called to the bedside to assist with care and to initiate interventions to prevent further deterioration within 10 minutes.

This specialized multidisciplinary team consists of:

  • A critical care nurse
  • A respiratory therapist
  • The patient’s physicians and/or physician assistants

In addition to the clinical team, nursing directors and off-shift administrators are alerted to RRS events to assist and facilitate transfer to the intensive care unit (ICU) as needed.


Why the Rapid Response System is Important

The RRS is a resource to staff to get patients the immediate care they need and to ensure they are in the most appropriate level of care for their current condition. The RRS helps staff to identify clinical deterioration early, which can avoid the need to transfer patients to the ICU and avoid the need for more intensive care later on.

The Rapid Response Committee reviews each RRS event called at BWH to look for quality and safety improvement opportunities. Members of the Emergency Response Committee encourage their staff to promote use of the RRS system, using the tag line “Don’t Hesitate – ACTIVATE.”

The Emergency Response Committee also assesses the impact of RRS use and impact on cardiac arrest rates, as well as addressing barriers to early activation of the RRS.

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