Using data to enable people to return home

A collaboration between Philips Healthcare and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, called Good NEWS 4 Home, enables smarter decision-making for patient discharge.

Modern healthcare is challenged both by the increasing complexity of medical patients and the systems that document their condition, treatment and test results. Hidden within this data is information that can help doctors to decide which patient might be able to safely return to their own home.

While doctors are being trained to take histories, interpret findings and test results and establish a diagnosis and treatment the planning for transitions of care is not usually taught and drowned out by the amount of tasks with seemingly higher urgency. Unsurprisingly discharge planning of patients with acute conditions is therefore often the last task of the day with subsequent delays in transfers of care (DTOC) to the community. Fear of post-discharge complications (‘safety’) drives up length of stay.

Collecting data on vital health markers

Philips Healthcare’s Intellivue Guardian Solution collects data on vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate and speed of breathing and is able to run algorithms with this data as it is created. Betsi Cadwaldr medical professionals used this technology to collect vital signs from the patients’ bedside, benchmarking against Philips Healthcare’s UK-wide data which is summarised in the National Early Warning Score (NEWS).

They have used this data to generate and test ‘decision support rules’ for safe discharge, identifying groups of patients who are very unlikely to become unstable and who could therefore be offered care in their own home, in rehabilitative hospitals or care homes.

Increased chance of survival

The project demonstrated an increased chance of survival for patients admitted to Intensive Care, reduction in cardiopulmonary arrests and reduction in ventilation requirements in the Intensive Care Unit. Nursing staff also reported reduced workload related to the measurement and evaluation of vital signs, demonstrating clear benefits for staff and patients.

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