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Aims and objectives: To examine user acceptance with a new format of charts for recording observations and as a prompt for responding to episodes of clinical deterioration in adult medical–surgical patients. Background: Improving recognition and response to clinical deterioration remains a challenge for acute healthcare institutions globally. Five chart templates were developed in Australia, combining human factors design principles with a track and trigger system for escalation of care. Two chart templates were previously tested in simulations, but none had been evaluated in clinical practice. Design: Prospective multisite survey of user acceptance of the charts in practice. Methods: New observation and response charts were trialled in parallel with existing charts for 24 hours across 36 adult acute medical–surgical wards, covering 108 shifts, in five Australian states. Surveys were completed by 477 staff respondents, with open-ended comments and narrative from short informal feedback groups providing elaboration and context of user experiences. Results: Respondents were broadly supportive of the chart format and content for monitoring patients, and as a prompt for escalating care. Some concerns were noted for chart size and style, use of ranges to graph vital signs and with specific human factors design features. Information and training issues were identified to improve usability and adherence to chart guidelines and to support improved detection and response for patients with clinical deterioration. Conclusions: This initial evaluation demonstrated that the charts were perceived as appropriate for documenting observations and as a prompt to detect clinical deterioration. Further evaluation after some minor modifications to the chart is recommended. Relevance to clinical practice: Explicit training on the principles and rationale of human factors chart design, use of embedded change management strategies and addressing practical issues will improve authentic engagement, staff acceptance and adoption by all clinical users when implementing a similar observation and response chart into practice.

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Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access


clinical deterioration, deteriorating patient, experiences, human factors design, nursing, observation charts, perceptions, rapid response system, survey, track and trigger