Rapid response systems

Kenneth M Hillman, Jack Chen and Daryl Jones
Med J Aust 2014; 201 (9): 519-521. || doi: 10.5694/mja14.01088


  • Rapid response systems (RRSs) are one of the first organisation-wide, patient-focused systems to be developed to prevent potentially avoidable deaths and serious adverse events such as cardiac arrests.
  • RRSs identify seriously ill and at-risk patients and those whose condition is deteriorating, using abnormal vital signs and observations that trigger an urgent response by staff who are able to deal with any medical emergency.
  • RRS teams also respond to staff concern — any bedside nurse or doctor who is concerned about his or her patient can seek assistance.
  • RRSs require the support of the whole hospital. This includes resources, educational programs and agreed ways of evaluating RRS effectiveness.
  • RRSs may reduce deaths by up to one-third and cardiac arrests by up to 50%.

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  • Kenneth M Hillman1
  • Jack Chen1
  • Daryl Jones2

  • 1 University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Austin Health, Melbourne, VIC.



Kenneth Hillman and Jack Chen are supported by National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grants (APP1009916 and APP1020660).

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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