The Early Warning Score of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients at the Turku University Hospital is determined with a mobile application, using a calculation method tailored for this particular group of patients.
The Early Warning Score system is used to assess the patient’s risk of disorders of the body’s vital functions. For instance, it helps detect the predictors of heart problems and other severe complications at an early stage. The system is also called NEWS (National Early Warning Score). Medanets’ EWS feature makes it possible to make the calculations with a mobile device, using different calculation methods. Specific calculation methods exist for different groups of patients, such as children, pregnant women, and COPD patients.
The result of the EWS calculation depends on factors such as the patient’s oxygen saturation value and the administration of oxygen therapy. Low oxygen saturation values and the administration of oxygen therapy generate a higher score, which will begin a treatment protocol with a low threshold. The saturation values of COPD patients are constantly lower than the values of persons without COPD, however, which is why a standard EWS calculation method gives patients a high score too easily.
“Because of their low oxygen saturation values, COPD patients with high EWS scores may be provided with too much oxygen. As a result, their breathing may become shallow and their bodies start to accumulate carbon dioxide, impairing their consciousness. Consequently, it is important to use a specific calculation method for COPD patients,” says registered nurse Iiris Salo from the Turku University Hospital pulmonary diseases inpatient ward.
Calculations Are Made More Actively
The EWS feature of the Medanets application has been in use at nurse Iiris Salo’s the ward from April 2020. Before the mobile feature was introduced, all EWS calculations were performed manually. Already back then, the scores of COPD patients were calculated with a different formula than the scores of other patients. However, these calculations were not made routinely for each patient. Instead, only the scores of patients under pulmonary function monitoring, in poor condition and other high-risk patients were calculated.
The previous calculation table was a little ambiguous and the calculations had to be made very carefully. This has become significantly easier with the introduction of the mobile application. It is effortless to enter values into the application and let it calculate the score automatically. We have started performing calculations more actively now.Iiris Salo, Nurse, Pulmonary Diseases Inpatient Ward 1, Turku University Hospital
When the calculation is finished, the mobile application provides the nurse with the appropriate instructions for the score of the patient. The results of the calculation are stored automatically in the Electronic Health Record. This allows for access to real-time information about the patient’s condition. High scores and changes in the patient’s condition can be reacted to immediately. In very severe cases, this can save the life of a patient.