AI Index Provides ‘Second Set of Eyes’ for Overtaxed Hospital Nurses

With the amount of  stress being placed on health care systems around the world, it’s an ideal time to inject a new AI algorithm into the mix. The huge burden being placed on nurses will only worsen in the next few weeks and months.

An informative piece in explains the Rothman Index and how its being used to help with hands-on health care.

Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH) nursing staff is one of the earliest users of the Rothman Index. The index is a tool used to reflect levels of severity and risk  for patients. Clinical Informatics Manager Leslie Hutchins said YNHH implemented the technology to provide the right advice, at the right time and pull meaningful data to better treat patients.

The Rothman index uses electronic medical record data for calculations. Its 26 variables (including 11 nursing assessment metrics are put into graphs. The medical industry viewed the  Rothman Index with skepticism in terms of validity and reliability. Initially, the index didn’t have enough peer-reviewed literature for nurses and clinicians to feel confident about using it. However, research shows the Rothman Index performance has improved nursing assessments, which makes it more likely that they are improving patient care.

Yale uses “SWAT teams” of nurses who are experienced in critical care, trauma, and cardiovascular life support for its program.
Warning notifications are sent to cell phones when a patient’s index shows signs of deterioration. SWAT reviews the patient’s EMR and assesses the patient. The clinical nurses, doctors, and SWAT then collaborate to determine the focal points of the patient’s care. The SWAT nurses have taken on the label of the “second set of eyes.”

The nurses this program is designed for must do their part in believing in the approach and applying it to their own personal routine of caring for patients.

New algorithms will be integrated into patient care and nurses have to garner experience in the interpretation of multiple data results to integrate new information into their daily practice. Based on their own Rothman index experience, the YNHH nurses offered their best advice on integrating new data into patient care seamlessly:

  • The mindset of the team of nurses must be open to growth. Be prepared to learn new ways to harvest and utilize patient data.
  • When integrating a tool into existing practice it is essential to offer word-of-mouth frontline stories that complement the training sessions.
  • Be sure the tools you choose to integrate are user-friendly and that the output interpretation is intuitive.
  • The main goal is that patient care benefits from the integration of any artificial intelligence tool. Nurses should be able to spend more time bedside and understand their patient’s medical condition and needs better as a result of implementation.

Robots are performing nursing functions like taking vitals signs, ambulation support, administering medications and learning infectious disease protocol. As more robots are integrated into healthcare settings, the traditional role of the nurse will change. Research says that 8-to-16 percent of the time nurses spend on the job is allocated to activities that are not solely nursing duties and could be delegated to another member of staff. When nurses have robots to support them, they will have the control to take this time back and dedicate it directly to patient care.