Electronic observations technology can help hospitals fight against sepsis

Call for frontline hospital staff to be empowered to use digital observations systems as part of identifying those at risk of sepsis and managing treatment

Frontline doctors and nurses should be given access to electronic observations technology to help with the urgent identification and treatment of sepsis being demanded by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), Patientrack has said.

NICE has recently released guidance on sepsis, building on data from The UK Sepsis Trust that shows 44,000 die as a result of sepsis each year, with estimates of an annual 150,000 cases of the deadly condition.

Digital observations technology can play an important part in this fight by helping to identify those at risk of sepsis, alerting clinical staff when help is needed, and applying protocols such as the sepsis six so that patients get the best-possible care

The watchdog urges that people who show signs of sepsis should be treated with the same urgency given to those with suspected heart attacks, as it published its new guideline on the condition.

Recognition, diagnosis and early management of sepsis requires a concerted effort by frontline staff. Alongside awareness, education and appropriate processes; electronic observations and alerting systems can play an important part by providing real-time information about those at risk of the condition, enabling assessment and prompting and monitoring compliance with guidelines, say experts at Patientrack.

The company provides this technology, which monitors a patient’s vital signs and automatically alerts doctors when those observations indicate urgent need, to help a growing number of hospitals across the country identify the condition early.

“Spotting sepsis in hospitals is an ongoing challenge, and this new guidance from NICE will help greatly in the fight against this devastating condition,” said Donald Kennedy, managing director at Patientrack.

“Digital observations technology can play an important part in this fight by helping to identify those at risk of sepsis, alerting clinical staff when help is needed, and applying protocols such as the sepsis six so that patients get the best-possible care.”

Healthcare organisations in England, Scotland and abroad are using Patientrack to deliver a major impact on patient safety, with several already using the technology for both the identification and management of sepsis. The benefits of the technology are already being felt.

Dr Luke Hodgson, intensive care research registrar at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (WSHFT), said: “Work being carried out at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is raising awareness and improving treatment of sepsis. The Patientrack alert we have in place from admission to hospital, automatically triggers when patients show physiological signs that they may be at risk of sepsis on the National Early Warning Score (NEWS) and asks clinicians whether they consider infection to be likely. If the clinician agrees, this triggers the sepsis six care bundle to be automatically generated on Patientrack, facilitating early appropriate intervention by clinical staff to prevent harm.”

By using technology like Patientrack to identify and manage sepsis, doctors and nurses are better supported to save lives

Researchers at WSHFT are currently collaborating with Patientrack and The University of Southampton to develop precise prediction models that aim to improve recognition of those with sepsis that can harness available Patientrack technology.

Hospitals using Patientrack technology have also been collaborating on best practice approaches to the identification and management of sepsis, which will provide an essential foundation for future research into this devastating condition.

The NICE guidance builds on many of the issues raised in November’s Just Say Sepsis report from the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD).

Kennedy said: “Our NHS partners have already demonstrated how the technology can reduce mortality and decrease length of stay. A McKinsey report commissioned by NHS England showed that technologies like Patientrack could save the NHS £300m. More importantly, by using technology like Patientrack to identify and manage sepsis, doctors and nurses are better supported to save lives.”

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