To evaluate the impact of health information technology (HIT) for early detection of patient deterioration on patient mortality and length of stay (LOS) in acute care hospital settings.
We searched MEDLINE and Epub Ahead of Print, In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations and Daily, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Scopus from 1990 to January 19, 2021.
We included studies that enrolled patients hospitalized on the floor, in the ICU, or admitted through the emergency department. Eligible studies compared HIT for early detection of patient deterioration with usual care and reported at least one end point of interest: hospital or ICU LOS or mortality at any time point.
Study data were abstracted by two independent reviewers using a standardized data extraction form.
Random-effects meta-analysis was used to pool data. Among the 30 eligible studies, seven were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 23 were pre-post studies. Compared with usual care, HIT for early detection of patient deterioration was not associated with a reduction in hospital mortality or LOS in the meta-analyses of RCTs. In the meta-analyses of pre-post studies, HIT interventions demonstrated a significant association with improved hospital mortality for the entire study cohort (odds ratio, 0.78 [95% CI, 0.70–0.87]) and reduced hospital LOS overall.
HIT for early detection of patient deterioration in acute care settings was not significantly associated with improved mortality or LOS in the meta-analyses of RCTs. In the meta-analyses of pre-post studies, HIT was associated with improved hospital mortality and LOS; however, these results should be interpreted with caution. The differences in patient outcomes between the findings of the RCTs and pre-post studies may be secondary to confounding caused by unmeasured improvements in practice and workflow over time.