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Saving lives with early sepsis detection
Sepsis, a complication of infection that rapidly leads to organ failure and septic shock, is “one of the biggest killers” in hospitals today, according to Tobi Oremule, a registered pharmacist and solution expert at healthcare technology provider Cerner. “In the U.K. alone, it kills up to 50,000 people a year,” she says.
One of the problems in treating sepsis is that patients must receive IV fluids and antibiotics quickly—within an hour of detection. But because sepsis can present in a variety of ways, it can be difficult to diagnose, Oremule explains. Care providers could miss symptoms such as changes in vital signs and thus lose critical time in starting treatment, leading to increased mortality rates, she says.
Automating analysis and alerts
To enable early detection and treatment of sepsis, Cerner, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Aruba, an HPE company, have partnered on technology that seamlessly integrates with patients’ electronic health records to capture sepsis “triggers” in real time and alert clinicians.
Cerner’s software, called the St. John sepsis algorithm, has embedded decision support to help doctors quickly and accurately diagnose the condition and determine the right course of action. As part of the partnership, HPE provides a “robust and secure” platform for the clinical software to run on, while Aruba provides clinical-grade networking, explains Rich Bird, HPE’s worldwide manager for healthcare.
According to Niel Shah, clinical device lead at Cerner, the St. John sepsis algorithm is currently running in about 440 hospitals and monitoring about a million patients per day.
“The success of the sepsis project really shows us the power that partners working together can deliver for a modern, digitized healthcare system,” says Bird.