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Implementation of CareFlow Vitals at Alder Hey helps deliver a 32% cut in unplanned transfers to critical care

5th January 2021

An electronic early warning system introduced by Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust reduced unplanned admissions to critical care, following in-hospital deterioration, by 32% in the first year and reduced costs. This work, delivered using System C’s CareFlow Vitals and Connect software, has won this year’s HFMA Value and Innovation Award.

More than 4,000 children per year require unplanned admission to intensive care following deterioration in hospital in the UK.   Alder Hey has introduced handheld devices to record nurse observations, together with a child-specific early warning score to highlight at-risk patients and a system of alerts. 

In its award submission, Alder Hey describes the project as the first large-scale implementation and evaluation of the use of this technology to improve the recognition of deterioration and response in a large paediatric hospital.

The technology was implemented across 10 inpatient wards and six associated clinical areas. The HFMA noted that the provision of real-time vital signs was improving clinicians’ situation awareness about the patients who are getting sicker. Compliance reports capture the timeliness and completeness of patient monitoring and track alerts for patients with high or critical PEWS and new sepsis concerns. This was enabling a more proactive process to manage deterioration.

At the end of the first year, Alder Hey has reported a 32% reduction in unplanned transfers to critical care and a 30% reduction in critical care bed day utilisation, releasing capacity equivalent to three critical care bed days per day, which can be used for post-operative care following major elective surgery or regional referrals in for critical care.

The local health economy has benefited from a decrease in morbidity, as well as from a reduction in the actual and opportunity cost of unnecessary critical care admissions.

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