Benchmarking the use of a rapid response team by surgical services at a tertiary care hospital

Daniel A Barocas, Chirag S Kulahalli, Jesse M Ehrenfeld, April N Kapu, David F Penson, Chaochen Chad You, Lisa Weavind, Roger Dmochowski
Journal of the American College of Surgeons 2014, 218 (1): 66-72

BACKGROUND: Rapid response teams (RRT) are used to prevent adverse events in patients with acute clinical deterioration, and to save costs of unnecessary transfer in patients with lower-acuity problems. However, determining the optimal use of RRT services is challenging. One method of benchmarking performance is to determine whether a department's event rate is commensurate with its volume and acuity.

STUDY DESIGN: Using admissions between 2009 and 2011 to 18 distinct surgical services at a tertiary care center, we developed logistic regression models to predict RRT activation, accounting for days at-risk for RRT and patient acuity, using claims modifiers for risk of mortality (ROM) and severity of illness (SOI). The model was used to compute observed-to-expected (O/E) RRT use by service.

RESULTS: Of 45,651 admissions, 728 (1.6%, or 3.2 per 1,000 inpatient days) resulted in 1 or more RRT activations. Use varied widely across services (0.4% to 6.2% of admissions; 1.39 to 8.73 per 1,000 inpatient days, unadjusted). In the multivariable model, the greatest contributors to the likelihood of RRT were days at risk, SOI, and ROM. The O/E RRT use ranged from 0.32 to 2.82 across services, with 8 services having an observed value that was significantly higher or lower than predicted by the model.

CONCLUSIONS: We developed a tool for identifying outlying use of an important institutional medical resource. The O/E computation provides a starting point for further investigation into the reasons for variability among services, and a benchmark for quality and process improvement efforts in patient safety.

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