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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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A critical assessment of early warning score records in 168,000 patients

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The national early warning score (NEWS) is recommended to detect deterioration in hospitalised patients. In 2013, a NEWS-based system was introduced in a hospital service with over 250,000 annual admissions, generating large amounts of NEWS data. The quality of such data has not been described. We critically assessed NEWS data recorded over 12 months. This observational study included NEWS records from adult inpatients hospitalized in the Capital Region of Denmark during 2014. Physiological variables and the use of supplementary oxygen (NEWS variables) were recorded. We identified implausible records and assessed the distributions of NEWS variable values. Of 2,835,331 NEWS records, 271,103 (10%) were incomplete with one or more variable missing and 0.2% of records containing implausible values. Digit preferences were identified for respiratory rate, supplementation oxygen flow, pulse rate, and systolic blood pressure. There was an accumulation of pulse rate records below 91 beats per minute. Among complete NEWS records, 64% had NEWS ≥ 1; 29% had NEWS ≥ 3; and 8% had NEWS ≥ 6. In a large set of NEWS data, 10% of the records were incomplete. In a system where data were manually entered into an electronic medical record, digit preferences and the accumulation of pulse rate records below 91 beats per minute, which is the limit for NEWS point generation, showed that staff practice influenced the recorded values. This indicates a potential limitation of transferability of research results obtained in such systems to fully automated systems.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing
Volume32
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)109-116
ISSN1387-1307
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

ID: 49953877