EMR alerts can signal patient decline, Banner Health study finds

Phoenix-based Banner Health has implemented an automated process in its EHR that alerts physicians at a patient's bedside of potential clinical decline.

The process continuously mines EMR data in real time for certain symptoms and criteria, such as acute organ dysfunction parameters, to determine if the alert is necessary. The use of predictive analytics identified a majority of high-risk patients within 48 hours of admission. Results of the study were published in the American Journal of Medicine.

The automated process was implemented in all 24 Banner Health hospitals.

"Clearly there are many impressive benefits that an EMR can bring to a health system that has significantly invested in this technology," said Hargobind Khurana, MD, with Banner Health and lead author of the study. "EMR-based alerts bring these benefits directly to a patient's bedside where they are needed the most. Predictive analytics used in a systematic manner are no longer just inert computerized algorithms, but are invaluable tools in the hands of an organized healthcare system that has learned how to apply them consistently. This is technology in action, helping improve patient outcomes, and it only promises to become more precise in the very near future."

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