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Glossary Terms

What is Acuity?

What is Acuity?

In health care, acuity is the strength of a sensory function — e.g., good visual acuity. When used in nursing, emergency rooms, and critical care, it also refers to the severity of a patient’s illness. In this context, acuity is used as shorthand to describe the priority in which clients should be seen. For example, a “high-acuity patient” is severely ill and should receive care before others.

Rating Acuity in the Workplace

As there is no universally accepted acuity scale, a healthcare facility’s leadership team will develop its own. However, it’s common for acuity criteria to have official documentation that forms the basis of a treatment policy.

Acuity levels that healthcare professionals observe and prioritize include:

  • Pain

  • Oxygen levels

  • Blood pressure

  • Overall patient stability

Patients requiring closer monitoring will score higher acuity on these scales.

Acuity in EHR Systems

Most electronic healthcare record (EHR) systems incorporate acuity to capture and prioritize patient needs. Therefore, this module of an EHR system might be referred to as an acuity system, where admissions, patient needs, treatment applied, discharges, and transfers undergo analysis.

Acuity systems can help assess resource needs at a healthcare facility or unit. For example, charge nurses use an electronic system’s historical acuity data to anticipate staffing needs for future shifts.

The process of using objective and quantifiable acuity system data to inform scheduling and resource allocation is known as acuity-based staffing. One of the overall goals of acuity-based staffing is to add consistency and objectivity to patient assignments.

How TempDev Can Help With Acuity

TempDev’s team of NextGen consultants, developers, and trainers support your needs whether you’re looking to implement, switch, or upgrade your current EHR system. From dashboards and revenue cycle consulting to automation and workflow redesign, TempDev offers the tools you need to make the most of your NextGen EHR system — with top tips and tricks that will ensure your success now and in the future.

Using TempDev’s NextGen dashboardstemplates, and reports, you can better support your patients’ needs. Our team is here to help you design, organize, and implement the system and is on hand to offer guidance based on industry best practices

Contact us here or by calling 888.TEMP.DEV to get the help you need to measure patient acuity with your EHR.


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