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HealthJune 06, 2022

Executive Brief: Leveraging AI-based clinical surveillance to improve sepsis outcomes and cost savings

Discover key characteristics of an AI-based clinical surveillance solution to improve sepsis outcomes and cost savings.

As the healthcare industry focuses on improving sepsis care to reduce mortality, morbidity, and costs, health IT vendors have responded with new AI-based surveillance solutions. These tools target early and accurate identification of at-risk patients and real-time treatment decision support.

Unfortunately, many of today’s solutions, including electronic medical records (EMRs), fall short of the mark, with several meta-analyses finding variation in clinicians’ adoption, compliance, responsiveness to the new tools, and demonstrated outcomes.

Severity of sepsis and evidence of improving outcomes make sepsis a prime opportunity for real-time clinical surveillance

Limited success hasn’t slowed innovation efforts, however. The prevalence and severity of sepsis and the broad evidence that early and consistent intervention can improve outcomes make it a prime opportunity for real-time surveillance. The greater regulatory interest in reducing sepsis mortality and morbidity and C-level interest in driving down the costs associated with its treatment continue to push providers and solution providers to prioritize highly effective sepsis solutions.

The impact on patient lives, hospital system financial performance, and aggressive regulatory environment also come into play. Attempts to standardize sepsis care using publicly reported quality measures have done little to improve overall performance, with national average bundle compliance at just 60%, according to CMS Hospital Compare metrics. The reasons range from the complexity of accurate and early diagnosis to patients missed during unit transitions to siloed data and documentation issues. Then the bundle is complex itself. SEP-1 requires completing multiple components within specific time windows, and success requires engaging a multidisciplinary team beyond bedside clinicians. Introducing a dedicated Sepsis Coordinator and using a Sepsis Rapid Response Team have demonstrated how focused team resources can help achieve successful outcomes.

While dedicated resources are essential, they are not enough. The Advisory Board has recommended reinforcing nurse-led sepsis protocols specifically “to rein in the sepsis burden, embed a screening tool into the triage process, and mandate screening for all patients during intake. Ease compliance by distilling the complex sepsis protocol into a simple four-step bundle for specific staff to prevent treatment delays.” Doing so can save $2 million annually for a typical 300-bed hospital, $5 million for a five-hospital system, and $7.5 million for a regional system, according to a study published in Critical Care Medicine.

Advanced Clinical Surveillance solutions can help improve sepsis outcomes 

When an organization focuses on improving sepsis management by applying clinical surveillance, it is vital to assess all available options versus just accepting the solution from their EHR. Effective solutions offer early and highly accurate patient identification alerts integrated into the clinicians’ workflow, clinical decision support that reduces variability in care, monitoring compliance with the full SEP-1 bundle and not just initial patient identification, and comprehensive solutions to support the full care team. Finally, analytics and reporting that help the organization manage the problematic challenge of adopting new clinical programs will support success.

Identifying a sepsis solution with most or all of these characteristics enhances the probability of success. This translates into more lives saved and fewer dollars lost to what has been an intractable long-term problem for hospitals and health systems of all sizes and types.

Download this guide: Leveraging AI-based clinical surveillance to improve sepsis outcomes and cost savings to learn more about:

  • How the sepsis surveillance market is evolving
  • Potential financial impact for hospitals that improve their sepsis outcomes
  • Seven characteristics of a sepsis surveillance solution that will enable successful a sepsis program

Access the executive brief

Dr. Itay Klaz is responsible for directing clinical efforts toward the development, implementation and support of Wolters Kluwer Sepsis Surveillance software solutions.
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