Individualizing and optimizing the use of early warning scores in acute medical care for deteriorating hospitalized patients

Muge Capan, Julie S. Ivy, Thomas Rohleder, Joel Hickman, Jeanne M. Huddleston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Aim: While early warning scores (EWS) have the potential to identify physiological deterioration in an acute care setting, the implementation of EWS in clinical practice has yet to be fully realized. The primary aim of this study is to identify optimal patient-centered rapid response team (RRT) activation rules using electronic medical records (EMR)-derived Markovian models. Methods: The setting for the observational cohort study included 38,356 adult general floor patients hospitalized in 2011. The national early warning score (NEWS) was used to measure the patient health condition. Chi-square and Kruskal Wallis tests were used to identify statistically significant subpopulations as a function of the admission type (medical or surgical), frailty as measured by the Braden skin score, and history of prior clinical deterioration (RRT, cardiopulmonary arrest, or unscheduled ICU transfer). Results: Statistical tests identified 12 statistically significant subpopulations which differed clinically, as measured by length of stay and time to re-admission (P< .001). The Chi-square test of independence results showed a dependency structure between subsequent states in the embedded Markov chains (P< .001). The SMDP models identified two sets of subpopulation-specific RRT activation rules for each statistically unique subpopulation. Clinical deterioration experience in prior hospitalizations did not change the RRT activation rules. The thresholds differed as a function of admission type and frailty. Conclusions: EWS were used to identify personalized thresholds for RRT activation for statistically significant Markovian patient subpopulations as a function of frailty and admission type. The full potential of EWS for personalizing acute care delivery is yet to be realized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-112
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Deterioration
  • Markovian
  • Prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Individualizing and optimizing the use of early warning scores in acute medical care for deteriorating hospitalized patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this