St. Luke’s University Health Expands Use of Clinical Surveillance Solutions

March 25, 2019
“With the higher acuity levels of many hospitalized patients, taking vital signs over four or eight hours is no longer effective in many cases.”

St. Luke’s University Health Network is expanding a clinical surveillance solution pilot that began four years ago in a 34-bed orthopedic trauma ward at its hospital in Bethlehem, Pa. 

St. Luke’s, a regional network of 10 hospitals and 320 affiliated sites providing service to 10 counties in eastern Pennsylvania, began by forming multidisciplinary task force – comprised of anesthesiologists, nurses, respiratory specialists, hospital leaders, and others – charged with implementing changes and tracking outcomes in the pilot location. St. Luke’s made changes in clinical practice and alarm management and installed Masimo Patient SafetyNet, a supplemental remote monitoring and clinician notification system. Patients were monitored at the bedside using a patient monitoring and connectivity hub in conjunction with a tetherless, wearable pulse oximeters that continuously monitor patients’ oxygen saturation and pulse rate.

Clinicians use Patient SafetyNet to remotely monitor these parameters from central view stations and even smartphones. In 2016, a year after implementation of the program, St. Luke’s said that clinicians achieved impressive outcome and financial results compared to 2015 performance, including a 62 percent reduction in mortality, a 36 percent reduction in naloxone administration, a 23 percent reduction in the utilization of telemetry, a 26 percent reduction in critical care transfers, and an estimated savings of $900,000 in cost avoidance.

“Because of the unpredictability of which patients will deteriorate, continuous and in-depth monitoring provides a valuable level of data that can be acted upon quickly to save lives,” said Aldo Carmona, M.D., chairman of the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care and senior vice president of clinical integration, in a prepared statement. “Constant monitoring of changes in patient conditions will alert doctors and nurses when gradual deterioration is sensed, enabling a quicker therapeutic response and avoiding emergent situations.”

Following the successful pilot, St. Luke’s expanded the program to an additional 48 beds across two additional units on their Bethlehem campus. Now, three years later, the network is again expanding the effort to almost 500 beds in total, so that all eight existing hospitals will have the technology. Monitoring data is now automatically transferred from bedside devices and Patient SafetyNet to St. Luke’s Epic electronic health record (EHR) system. “With the higher acuity levels of many hospitalized patients, taking vital signs over four or eight hours is no longer effective in many cases, and developing conditions are missed until they become critical threats sometimes resulting in poor outcomes,” Carmona added.

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