DHMC patient surveillance system decreases adverse events in postoperative care

A simple yet enormously effective patient surveillance system implemented by anesthesiologists at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, New Hampshire has proven to dramatically decrease the number of rescue calls and intensive care unit transfers in postsurgical patients, allowing doctors to intervene in more cases before a crisis situation develops.

Andreas H. Taenzer, M.D., F.A.A.P. and his colleagues published the results of their study in the February 2010 issue of Anesthesiology.

The group's study is the first published report of such a surveillance monitoring system, which seeks to detect patient adverse events occurring in the general postoperative care setting when medical staff is immediately available to intervene, but is unaware of the deteriorating condition.

"Our primary finding is that early detection of patient deterioration in important areas such as oxygen saturation and heart rate led to fewer rescue events and a decreased need to escalate care," said Dr. Taenzer.

SOURCE American Society of Anesthesiologists
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