Excel Medical Blog

Undetected Deterioration: A Prevalent Patient Safety Issue


Our responsibility is to keep patients safe, heal them and send them home to a productive life. 750,000 patients die each year in US hospitals, 12-15% of which die due to undetected and improperly communicated clinical deterioration. That means we lose 112,500 of our family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors every year due to this issue. This does not include the non-death sentinel events that cause long-term harm.

Patient populations are older and increasingly complex. Clinicians are burdened by decreasing staff to patient ratios and a retiring generation being back filled by a young, less experienced generation at an unprecedented rate. Cost pressures are pulling patients through the care continuum faster. Jumble all of these factors into one environment and there is no surprise that signs of deterioration get missed.

The electronic medical record and patient monitoring technology collects and stores more patient data than ever before. The human brain cannot think in more than 2 dimensions, in real-time, to process all of the data. Slight changes are overlooked, patients deteriorate and then suddenly fall off the cliff - coding. 80% of patients that code never leave the hospital.

Imagine if we had air traffic control watching every patient in the hospital like a hawk, processing real time data in 5 dimensions to tell us 6.3 hours in advance before a patient goes off the cliff. This is what the WAVE Predictive Patient Surveillance System does and we have the data to prove it.

As an industry, let's be careful not to lose focus of why we are here – our patients.