By Jennifer Knapp, Vocera
Nurse Christine Chan regularly receives clinical advisories from the EHR. They are designed to notify her about steps she needs to take for patients with specific conditions and to highlight potential risks like drug interactions. In addition to the numerous advisories the EHR already delivers, her hospital recently added new notifications to identify patients at risk for sepsis.
Nurse Chan likes the idea of the sepsis risk notifications, but there are two problems: First, nearly half of them are false-positives. Second, they get mixed in with the routine pop-ups she's become accustomed to briefly skimming and clicking through, and that she only sees when she is using the EHR. Before long, she starts to ignore the sepsis notifications altogether. This puts patients at risk.
Sepsis, according to The Sepsis Alliance, is “the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.” It is a leading cause of death in the U.S., where 750,000 people die each year from it.1 With $24B spent annually, it is the costliest medical condition to treat in this country.2 But strong evidence shows that early, tailored intervention can significantly reduce the likelihood of sepsis-related complications and death. A recent study has shown that deploying a comprehensive sepsis program can reduce mortality rates by more than 50% and 30-day readmissions by 30%.3 And a growing body of research indicates the most statistically significant variable in sepsis treatment is time.