Increasing the use of an existing medical emergency team in a teaching hospital

Daryl Andrew Jones, Biswadev Mitra, J Barbetti, K Choate, Trevor Leong, Rinaldo Bellomo

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Cultural barriers in hospital ward staff may limit the use of a Medical Emergency Team (MET) service. In December 2000 the role of the existing Code Blue team in our hospital was expanded to incorporate review of patients fulfilling commonly employed MET criteria. Between January 2001 and June 2003, the average call rate was only 9.8 calls/1000 admissions. Anecdotal feedback and a group-administered questionnaire conducted in July 2003 demonstrated a number of obstacles to initiating calls and the system was modified in October 2004. Specifically, emergency response calls were separated into Code Blue calls (for cardiorespiratory arrests) and MET calls (with physiological and worried criteria). Further, loud overhead chimes as well as anaesthetist and cardiologist attendance were used only in the case of Code Blue calls (suspected arrests). Finally, the heart rate and respiratory rate criteria for MET service activation were modified. In the 12 months before the intervention (October 2003 to September 2004) there were 817 emergency response calls and 51,963 admissions (15.7 calls/1000 admissions). In the 12 months after the intervention there were 1349 emergency response calls (Code Blue plus MET calls) and 54,593 admissions (24.7 calls/1000 admissions [OR 1.59; 95 CI=1.45-1.73; P <0.0001]). Our findings suggest that increasing the use of an existing service to review patients fulfilling MET criteria requires repeated education and a periodic assessment of site-specific obstacles to utilization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731 - 735
Number of pages5
JournalAnaesthesia and Intensive Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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