Patients who deteriorate while on the acute care ward and are emergently transferred to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) experience high rates of mortality. To date, risk scores for clinical deterioration applied to the acute care wards rely on static or intermittent inputs of vital sign and assessment parameters. We propose the use of continuous predictive analytics monitoring, or data that relies on real-time physiologic monitoring data captured from ECG, documented vital signs, laboratory results, and other clinical assessments to predict clinical deterioration. A necessary step in translation to practice is understanding how an alert threshold would perform if applied to a continuous predictive analytic that was trained to detect clinical deterioration. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the positive predictive value of ‘risk spikes’, or large abrupt increases in the output of a statistical model of risk predicting clinical deterioration. We studied 8111 consecutive patient admissions to a cardiovascular medicine and surgery ward with continuous ECG data. We first trained a multivariable logistic regression model for emergent ICU transfer in a test set and tested the characteristics of the model in a validation set of 4059 patient admissions. Then, in a nested analysis we identified large, abrupt spikes in risk (increase by three units over the prior 6 h; a unit is the fold-increase in risk of ICU transfer in the next 24 h) and reviewed hospital records of 91 patients for clinical events such as emergent ICU transfer. We compared results to 59 control patients at times when they were matched for baseline risk including the National Warning Score (NEWS). There was a 3.4-fold higher event rate for patients with risk spikes (positive predictive value 24% compared to 7%, p = 0.006). If we were to use risk spikes as an alert, they would fire about once per day on a 73-bed acute care ward. Risk spikes that were primarily driven by respiratory changes (ECG-derived respiration (EDR) or charted respiratory rate) had highest PPV (30–35%) while risk spikes driven by heart rate had the lowest (7%). Alert thresholds derived from continuous predictive analytics monitoring are able to be operationalized as a degree of change from the person’s own baseline rather than arbitrary threshold cut-points, which can likely better account for the individual’s own inherent acuity levels. Point of care clinicians in the acute care ward settings need tailored alert strategies that promote a balance in recognition of clinical deterioration and assessment of the utility of the alert approach.