Impact of an emergency department electronic sepsis surveillance system on patient mortality and length of stay.
J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017 Aug 28;:
Authors: Austrian JS, Jamin CT, Doty GR, Blecker S
Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether an electronic health record-based sepsis alert system could improve quality of care and clinical outcomes for patients with sepsis.
Materials and Methods: We performed a patient-level interrupted time series study of emergency department patients with severe sepsis or septic shock between January 2013 and April 2015. The intervention, introduced in February 2014, was a system of interruptive sepsis alerts triggered by abnormal vital signs or laboratory results. Primary outcomes were length of stay (LOS) and in-hospital mortality; other outcomes included time to first lactate and blood cultures prior to antibiotics. We also assessed sensitivity, positive predictive value (PPV), and clinician response to the alerts.
Results: Mean LOS for patients with sepsis decreased from 10.1 to 8.6 days ( P < .001) following alert introduction. In adjusted time series analysis, the intervention was associated with a decreased LOS of 16% (95% CI, 5%-25%; P = .007, with significance of α = 0.006) and no change thereafter (0%; 95% CI, -2%, 2%). The sepsis alert system had no effect on mortality or other clinical or process measures. The intervention had a sensitivity of 80.4% and a PPV of 14.6%.
Discussion: Alerting based on simple laboratory and vital sign criteria was insufficient to improve sepsis outcomes. Alert fatigue due to the low PPV is likely the primary contributor to these results.
Conclusion: A more sophisticated algorithm for sepsis identification is needed to improve outcomes.
PMID: 29025165 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]