While many hospitals are implementing rapid response systems (RRSs) to attend to deteriorating patients in a systematic way, there is little documented evidence on system-wide approaches to adopting RRSs. Here, we report on an initiative which enrolled 220 hospitals in New South Wales, Australia. The ‘between the flags’ approach was modelled on Australia's surf lifesaving experience, where qualified lifesavers perform thousands of rescues each year. Patients in hospitals who are identified as being ‘between the flags’ are given special attention, just like beach goers.
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