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IntroductionMost patients admitted to hospital recover with treatments that can be administered on the general ward. A small but important group deteriorate however and require augmented organ support in areas with increased nursing to patient ratios. In observational studies evaluating this cohort, proxy outcomes such as unplanned intensive care unit admission, cardiac arrest and death are used. These outcome measures introduce subjectivity and variability, which in turn hinders the development and accuracy of the increasing numbers of electronic medical record (EMR) linked digital tools designed to predict clinical deterioration. Here, we describe a protocol for developing a new outcome measure using mixed methods to address these limitations.Methods and analysisWe will undertake firstly, a systematic literature review to identify existing generic, syndrome-specific and organ-specific definitions for clinically deteriorated, hospitalised adult patients. Secondly, an international modified Delphi study to generate a short list of candidate definitions. Thirdly, a nominal group technique (NGT) (using a trained facilitator) will take a diverse group of stakeholders through a structured process to generate a consensus definition. The NGT process will be informed by the data generated from the first two stages. The definition(s) for the deteriorated ward patient will be readily extractable from the EMR.Ethics and disseminationThis study has ethics approval (reference 16399) from the Central Adelaide Local Health Network Human Research Ethics Committee. Results generated from this study will be disseminated through publication and presentation at national and international scientific meetings.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open



Publication Date





e057614 - e057614