A More Rapid, Rapid Response

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Abstract

Objectives:

Critical care physicians’ standard for arrival to a rapid response team activation is 10 minutes or less at this institution. This study proposes that a FaceTime (Apple, Cupertino, CA) video call between the staff at the bedside and the critical care physician will allow the implementation of potentially life-saving therapies earlier than the current average response (4.5 min).

Design:

Prospective cohort study.

Setting:

Freestanding, tertiary-care children’s hospital.

Patients:

Pediatric patients ages 0-17.

Interventions:

Six units were chosen as matched pairs. In the telemedicine units, after notification of an rapid response team, the critical care intensivist established a FaceTime video call with the nurse at the bedside and gathered history, visually assessed the patient, and suggested interventions. Simultaneously, the rapid response nurse, respiratory therapist, and fellow were dispatched to respond to the bedside. After the video call, the intensivist also reported to the bedside. The control units followed the standard rapid response team protocol: the intensivist physically responded to the bedside. Differences in response time, number of interventions, Pediatric Early Warning System scores, and disposition were measured, and the PICU course of those transferred was evaluated.

Measurements and Main Results:

The telemedicine group’s average time to establish FaceTime interface was 2.6 minutes and arrival at bedside was 3.7 minutes. The control group average arrival time was 3.6 minutes. The difference between FaceTime interface and physical arrival in the control group was statistically significant (p = 0.012). Physical arrival times between the telemedicine and control groups remained consistent. Fifty-eight percent of the telemedicine patients and 73% of the control patients were admitted to the PICU (p = 0.13). Of patients transferred to the PICU, there was no difference in rate of intubation, initiation of bilevel positive airway pressure, central line placement, or vasopressors. The study group averaged 1.4 interventions and a Pediatric Early Warning Signs score of 3.6. The control group averaged 1.9 interventions and a Pediatric Early Warning Signs score of 3.1 (p = not significant).

Conclusion:

FaceTime allowed the intensivist to become involved earlier and provide immediate guidance to the inpatient care teams. However, it did not clinically alter the patient course. Further study is necessary.

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