Millions of lives are lost each year when hospital care teams miss the warning signs and don’t respond quickly enough to a patient’s rapidly deteriorating condition. To help catch patients before their condition reaches a “code blue” status, when admission to the ICU becomes necessary, The Joint Commission requires hospitals to have a process for recognizing and responding to changes in a patient’s condition. One way to do this is by providing a Rapid Response Team (also known as a medical emergency team). 

The Rapid Response Team at Stony Brook University Hospital supplements usual medical care to enhance the safety and well being of our patients. Within minutes of being called, our team of critical care experts arrives at the patient’s bedside to assess the situation, provide intensive monitoring, and attempt to reverse a patient’s deterioration by developing a treatment plan. Our Rapid Response Team, which is led by a critical care nurse practitioner, doesn’t take over the care of the patient, but instead, facilitates the process of getting a higher level of care when needed. 

Who can call the Rapid Response Team? A bedside nurse, a physician, a family member, or anyone who visits the patient’s room and senses that “something doesn’t seem right.” To monitor and assess the effectiveness of our Rapid Response Team, data concerning each team member’s response behavior is collected and analyzed regularly. The more rapid we become in our response to these situations, the closer we come to getting it right all the time, and achieving our goal of becoming a high reliability organization (HRO).