Acuity is a general reference to the level of care required by a patient, and not the unit or department in which the patient is being treated. The level of care can be a function of the personnel resources (medical or nursing) required, the extent of patient monitoring necessary or budgetary resources allocated to the specific patient.
Generally speaking, up to 40% of all patient admissions involve some form of high acuity care. High acuity care patients often present with various acute life threatening conditions. Typically one thinks of high-acuity as being limited to adult, pediatric or neo-natal patients in ICU or critical care units, however, high acuity also includes patients in surgical units, post-anesthesia care units (PACU) and progressive care units (also termed step-down, telemetry, intermediate care, and transitional care).
One major aspect of high acuity care is the use of multi-parameter patient monitoring systems. These monitors provide a comprehensive set of clinical parameters, and assist physicians and medical personnel in monitoring the patient’s health and progress during treatment.
During high acuity care, the continuous monitoring results in the accumulation of vast amounts of multidimensional data. However, sufficient automated advanced processing solutions are not in place to take full advantage of these data stores. Without predictive analytics, floor management and discharge decisions are determined based on the patient’s current state of health – decisions which may not be optimal for either the healthcare facility or the patient.