T3: Raising an early warning in the ICU
To make the right decisions at the right time for each patient, medical professionals working in an intensive care unit (ICU) rely on many monitors—10 or more for each child—to tell them what they need to know about how each child is progressing. Melvin C. Almodovar, MD, medical director of Boston Children's Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), and his colleagues worked with software developer Arcadia Solutions to build a solution this problem of “information overload.”
Their new approach, called “T3,” centers on a web-based, portable early warning system that helps the ICU staff assess the patient’s physiologic state and catch crises before they happen. T3 doesn’t cut down the amount of information that helps keep patients alive. Instead, it streamlines and manages the flow of information.
T3, which stands for "Tracking, Trajectory and Triggering," links data from bedside monitors keeping watch over a child and presents their readouts together, in context, on the same screen. Almodovar believes it could have major impact on how decisions are made and care is provided in the ICUs.
T3 should help channel the flood of information by:
- Tracking and capturing all of the information from a patient's numerous monitors.
- Calculating trends in the data and show a patient's real-time trajectory: Are they getting better? Are they getting worse? Are they responding to care as we think they should?
- Triggering action to avoid crises, enhance clinical decision making, and make the most efficient use of the resources available.
Apart from how it could impact intensive care delivery today, T3—which was introduced last year in Boston Children's Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) and Medical/Surgical ICU —could also, through better use of data, have an important effect on how such care is delivered in the future.
“The data collected can be analyzed so that we may evaluate the accuracy of our assessments while supporting better decision making and care plan adjustment through real time, regular analysis of relevant data,” says Almodovar.