CHH Focuses on Sepsis Prevention, Creates Response Team

Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication, occurs when the body's response to infection causes inflammation to tissues and organs. This inflammation can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail. Risk of death increases up to eight percent for each hour treatment is delayed. Early treatment of sepsis, usually with antibiotics and large amounts of intravenous fluids, improves chances for survival.

September is National Sepsis Awareness Month. Cabell Huntington Hospital (CHH) has placed a strong focus on sepsis response and treatment with continual process improvement and tracking to provide quality outcomes in care.

Cabell Huntington Hospital uses InSight, a machine learning algorithm for sepsis prediction to forecast sepsis. CHH is the first hospital in West Virginia to use this system.

“Because the early clinical diagnosis of sepsis can be challenging and time is so critical, we turned to Insight to assist nurses and physicians with an earlier electronic alerting system. We are already seeing a positive impact for our patients,” said Hoyt J. Burdick, MD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at CHH. “By coupling this system with a team dedicated to quick response specifically for sepsis, we continue to see an improvement in positive outcomes.”

Developed by Dascena, Inc., InSight analyzes routinely collected data in the electronic health record to forecast sepsis and provide nurses and physicians with much earlier notice that sepsis may be occurring. Since implementing this system over a year ago, CHH has seen a significant improvement in early sepsis identification and treatment. Since the launch of a dedicated Sepsis Response Team in June, CHH has been able to achieve even greater response time.

“We continually monitor the national best standards for sepsis and use benchmark indicators to push us to find new and better ways of providing the highest quality of care,” said Jeremy Tidd, RN, nurse manager of the Intensive Care Unit at CHH. “The new Sepsis Response Team provides faster response and treatment to sepsis alerts.”

Sepsis occurs in three stages starting with sepsis and progressing through severe sepsis to septic shock. By implementing a team process using an alert system and a fast response process, sepsis can be treated during its early stage, before it becomes more dangerous.

“The team is made up of six nursing staff members who rotate an on-call schedule for sepsis alerts. When a sepsis alert page is sent, the nurse quickly responds and assesses the patient to provide immediate information to the attending physician,” Tidd explained. “The physician begins treatment based on the individual patient’s needs. We will continue to monitor outcomes and improve processes to treat sepsis earlier.”

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