Riverside first in Virginia to adopt system
to help predict declines in condition

Newport News VA - Imagine being able to predict a decline in a patient's condition long before it happens. 

PeraTrend how it worksA new technology allows hospitals throughout Riverside Health System to do just that. PeraTrend is a sophisticated system that interprets key information – including vital signs, nurse findings and lab values – to paint a picture of a patient's overall condition. It helps care providers to interpret at a glance if someone is getting better or worse.

 "It's an early warning system," said Riverside Quality Vice President Liz Martin. "I'm really excited about it. I think it's a game-changer. It's one of the ways that we're living out the Riverside Care Difference, or our commitment to keep you safe, help you heal, respect your wishes and be kind to you."

Riverside is the first and only health system in Virginia to adopt the technology.

 "The consistent use of PeraTrend in our hospitals could be the most important clinical practice innovation implemented in recent years," said Dr. Barry Gross, Chief Medical Officer.

The idea of early intervention is nothing new. Nurses have been trained to spot subtle signs that they need to call in a Rapid Response Team to prevent cardiac arrest.

PeraTrend takes it a step further. The system collects hundreds of pieces of data to generate an overall score for each patient. The system is real-time, so it reflects up-to-the-minute changes in condition. The PeraTrend score tells nurses, doctors and other care professionals at a glance what would be much harder to detect without such sophisticated technology. The score and how it moves over time indicate if a patient is trending up or down. Lower scores can trigger further assessment and action.

"There are subtle changes that happen, and they can be hard to recognize," Martin said. "This creates a more robust way of understanding a patient's status in a way that's clear and obvious. It tells a story about the patient."

PeraTrend works in concert with Riverside's robust electronic health record. The health system has been named one of the most wired in the country for the ninth year in a row. "We have so much data available to us," Martin said. "This helps us use it to improve patient care."

PeraTrend has been implemented for acute patients at Riverside Regional Medical Center in Newport News, Riverside Walter Reed Hospital in Gloucester, Riverside Doctors' Hospital Williamsburg, Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in Nassawadox, Riverside Tappahannock Hospital, and the Hampton Roads Specialty Hospital in Newport News.

There are many ways to use the score, including when care transitions from one provider to another, to help decide when discharge is appropriate, to make sure terminal patients have palliative or hospice services lined up as they go home, and to choose the appropriate level of care. Taking PeraTrend into account may prevent readmissions that can happen when a patient is released too soon. The technology may head off cardiac arrests by allowing staff to intervene sooner.

"It will make us more sensitive so we can make sure patients have all the services they need," Martin said.

PeraTrend was developed by two brothers after their mother took a turn for the worst and died in a Florida hospital.  The facility agreed to work with the men to analyze her case. The brothers compared hard data, such as test results, to information assessed by nurses and other caregivers. They developed an algorithm and system to help predict risks to a patient who on the surface might appear to be improving nicely.

Published: March 24, 2014