Wall Street Journal Examines Hospital ‘SWAT’ Team Concept for Emergency Care
The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday looked at a new strategy U.S. hospitals are adopting that involves the use of a "SWAT team concept" to decrease mortality rates by "eliminating red tape that causes delays in assisting critically ill patients." The so-called rapid response teams -- which often include a critical-care nurse, intensive-care specialist and a respiratory therapist -- are mobilized by pager as soon as a patient's condition exhibits "worrisome changes," such as elevated blood pressure or a negative reaction to medication, according to the Journal. The teams, which are authorized to act without contacting the patient's physician, are designed to prevent cardiac arrest and other medical crises at the first indication of a potential problem, rather than resuscitating patients after the heart already has stopped.
The concept, which was pioneered in Australia, is supported by the nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement, which aims to enlist 1,000 hospitals in a campaign it is launching this month that will promote using the teams and employing other methods to reduce the occurrence of avoidable deaths (Landro, Wall Street Journal, 12/1).