HealthJanuary 13, 2020

Can big data help protect patients? The case of Halifax Health

Sepsis, or blood poisoning, is a serious and life-threatening medical condition that starts with the body’s response to an infection, which can often be fatal. Every year, all over the world, 30 million people are affected by sepsis, potentially leading to 6 million deaths. In the United States alone, it is the deadliest condition treated in hospital critical care units.

Sepsis can be effectively treated. The solution lies in early, accurate diagnosis, and rapid treatment. Administering early treatment is imperative to surviving sepsis; however, a number of other conditions can present with similar symptoms, which makes diagnosis at the onset challenging.

POC Advisor used at Halifax Health

In December 2015, Halifax Health, a two-hospital, 678-bed health system, the largest medical provider in East-Central Florida, identified sepsis as a quality initiative in order to achieve clinical excellence as part of the organization transforming from volume- to value-based care.

sepsis statistics wolterskluwerTo overcome barriers to surveillance and tracking of patient risks, and to drive down sepsis rates, Halifax implemented Wolters Kluwer’s sepsis-based screening tool to enable early, accurate identification, allowing for prompt intervention. The sepsis screening technology was deployed in the Emergency Department (ED), where most sepsis patient cases first appear.

“In one year, we realized a 33% decrease in mortality of the sickest patients on the sepsis spectrum and a 12.1% improvement in CMS Sepsis Bundle reporting,” said Dr. Ginny Kwong, MD, Vice President and Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) at Halifax Health.

The hospital selected POC Advisor™ because it targeted several significant areas for improvement, compared to the older, passive clinical decision support alerting system, which was considered to be ill-suited for the hectic Emergency Department (ED) workflow.

Halifax Health ultimately selected POC Advisor™ from Wolters Kluwer, a HIPAA-compliant enterprise-wide sepsis platform that uses real-time clinical surveillance and analytics to deliver timely and accurate sepsis alerts and advice to clinicians on the frontline of care. Halifax became the first health facility to adopt POC Advisor for use in its ED.

Wolters Kluwer experts, in close collaboration with medical practitioners and experts, have also deployed POC Advisor in several other U.S. hospitals to help support new CMS reporting requirements.

Deliver accurate sepsis alerts and advice

POC Advisor, integrated into the existing Halifax Meditech electronic health record (EHR) as well as with Vocera badges that nurses wear, allow for immediate documentation and communication of the patient’s changing condition and the care they are being given. POC Advisor leverages an advanced interface to continuously aggregate and analyze real-time data (vital signs, lab results and nursing assessment notes) from the EHR and uses patient-specific data to analyze and create a patient-specific alert. Finally, a prescriptive analytics rules engine—which also integrates evidence-based clinical content from UpToDate®, Lippincott® and Lexicomp® fires alerts that are received by ED nurses’ on their mobile badges—completing the process in under one minute.

"Partnering with Wolters Kluwer provides our staff with the best opportunity to improve sepsis care," Zabrina Evens, MD, Medical Director at Halifax Health.

Early, accurate diagnosis, and rapid treatment

The future of healthcare is artificial intelligence (AI) and big data leveraging natural language processing and machine learning along with newer AI models to advance clinical decision making. Instead of just seeing the signs and symptoms and then reacting to them at that moment, clinicians can digitally monitor charts and patients to see trends as they develop and will begin to leverage AI to begin to predict patients at risk.

“What I'm trying to do as a CIO actually, is to keep clinicians and physicians away from computers. I'm able to do that through the use of technology,” says Tom Stafford, VP & CIO, Halifax Health.

“To really have an impact at those crucial moments that matter - at Wolters Kluwer, we bring together that medical care insight and combine it with technology, to really have an impact”—Diana Nole, CEO Wolters Kluwer Health

VIDEO: A success story: Halifax Health partnered with Wolters Kluwer

About Wolters kluwer

Wolters Kluwer (WKL) is a global leader in professional information, software solutions, and services for the health, tax & accounting, governance, risk & compliance, and legal & regulatory sectors. We help our customers make critical decisions every day by providing expert solutions that combine deep domain knowledge with specialized technology and services.