The Computer-Aided Risk Score (CARS) estimates the risk of death following emergency admission to medical wards using routinely collected vital signs and blood test data. Our aim was to elicit the views of healthcare practitioners (staff) and service users and carers (SU/C) on (1) the potential value, unintended consequences and concerns associated with CARS and practitioner views on (2) the issues to consider before embedding CARS into routine practice.
This study was conducted in two National Health Service (NHS) hospital trusts in the North of England. Both had in-house information technology (IT) development teams, mature IT infrastructure with electronic National Early Warning Score (NEWS) and were capable of integrating NEWS with blood test results. The study focused on emergency medical and elderly admissions units. There were 60 and 39 acute medical/elderly admissions beds at the two NHS hospital trusts.
We conducted eight focus groups with 45 healthcare practitioners and two with 11 SU/Cs in two NHS acute hospitals.
Staff and SU/Cs recognised the potential of CARS but were clear that the score should not replace or undermine clinical judgments. Staff recognised that CARS could enhance clinical decision-making/judgments and aid communication with patients. They wanted to understand the components of CARS and be reassured about its accuracy but were concerned about the impact on intensive care and blood tests.
Risk scores are widely used in healthcare, but their development and implementation do not usually involve input from practitioners and SU/Cs. We contributed to the development of CARS by eliciting views of staff and SU/Cs who provided important, often complex, insights to support the development and implementation of CARS to ensure successful implementation in routine clinical practice.
BMJ Open 2019;9:e026591. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026591
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