New technology at PMMC offer early warning system

August 26, 2012

The primary purpose of MEWS is to ensure swift intervention or transfer of critically ill patients. MEWS is based on data electronically derived from four physiological readings (body temperature, heart rate, systolic blood pressure and respiratory rate). Based on a 10-point scoring system, a MEWS score of four or more is statistically linked to an increased likelihood of death or admission to an intensive care unit.

The MEWS application is the first step toward improving quality and safety through centralized documentation and analysis of patient data. MEWS works through information gathered by Amalga Unified Intelligence System, a new software program that interfaces with electronic health records to help with patient monitoring and identifying trends. 

“Epic and Amalga do different things,” explains Dick Gibson, M.D., Providence Oregon’s chief health care intelligence and informatics officer and interim chief executive of information services. “Epic is responsible for gathering all the patient data about a single patient. Amalga provides vigilance over an entire group of patients and alerts nurse managers and physicians if a patient is slipping in the wrong direction. Both are helpful and both are crucial for achieving the best clinical outcomes for our patients.” 

Amalga is designed to retrieve and display patient information from many sources, including scanned documents, electrocardiograms, X-rays, MRI scans, lab results, reports from surgery and patient demographics. While installed for its patient-safety and quality-improvement applications, it also continuously aggregates millions of up-to-the-minute data points on Providence patients that can save lives.

Epic and the MEWS system are implemented at Providence Medford Medical Center.