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JAMA Performance Improvement
Patient Safety
June 24, 2021

Rapid Response Teams as a Patient Safety Practice for Failure to Rescue

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois
  • 2Division for Research and Optimal Patient Care, American College of Surgeons, Chicago, Illinois
  • 3Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center, Department of Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
  • 4Department of Surgery, University of Michigan
  • 5Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA. 2021;326(2):179-180. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.7510

Failure to rescue (FTR) is a patient safety phenomenon of medical or surgical mortality following a major complication, and it generally represents a delay in recognizing or responding to in-hospital complications. Originally a surgical quality measure, FTR is not specific to a particular pathology or disease state; therefore, use as a quality metric across specialties can represent hospital performance rather than patient illness severity. Rapid response teams (RRTs) are a proposed patient safety practice to address FTR and are endorsed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Joint Commission.1 These clinical care teams (often multidisciplinary) rapidly assess a patient after an identified critical change in clinical status and determine if a change in care setting (eg, transfer to an ICU) or treatment plan (eg, endotracheal intubation) is necessary.

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