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“Scoring System” Helps ID Critical Patients

Modified Early Warning System (MEWS) is a tool Saint Francis Medical Center uses to help nurses identify patients who might need early intervention for declining clinical conditions. With MEWS, they are able to reduce “code blue” (cardiopulmonary) emergencies and call the hospital’s rapid response team more quickly.

“Nurses routinely check certain physiological signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, temperature and oxygen saturation,” says Bindu Finnell, MD, hospitalist at Saint Francis. “This system assigns a score to each of these signs. When that score reaches a certain level, the nurse begins checking signs more frequently. If it becomes too high, the nurse alerts the physician.”

Bindu Finnell, MD
Bindu Finnell, MD

The MEWS scores help Saint Francis quickly detect patients who need the early intervention that the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) offers. “Under this scoring system, we can predict when a patient may have a life-threatening event even before it happens,” says Finnell.

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