New Sepsis Alert System Saves Lives in Shenandoah Valley, Central Virginia
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Hospitals in central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley are detecting cases of sepsis earlier thanks to new monitoring technology.
Sepsis is an infection in a person’s blood stream and every hour is crucial for the survival of those who have it. Sepsis can be sometimes difficult for busy medical personnel to spot, so a backup system has been implemented.
Data scientist Penny Cooper created the Sepsis Alert System for Augusta Health using data and information that doctors and nurses already have. The system helps get antibiotics to patients as soon as possible.
“We wanted to take advantage of artificial intelligence capabilities and how it can improve our health outcomes, so sepsis was a great place to start,” Cooper said.
The automated system tracks all of the hospital’s patients each hour in search of any abnormalities that signal a potential sepsis case. It then sends an alert to nurses when it detects a problem.
“I see it as a backup system,” said Dr. Adam Rochman, Medical Director for Augusta Health Emergency Department. “I still think front line workers, nurses, and doctors are usually recognizing sepsis and being able to act on that, but this is another double check.”
Since piloting the system in 2017, the mortality rate at Augusta Health is consistently below the state average of about 12%. Amy Markham, Quality Coordinator for Neurology at Augusta Health, says they’ve saved 282 lives since implementing the system.
“It just shows this system really works and its actually saved many lives,” Markham said.
Other area hospitals, including Sentara Martha Jefferson, are using a similar technology. The sepsis sniffer system, implemented at the end of 2018, can predict if a patient may have sepsis 8-12 hours before infection occurs.
“Historically, the care team may have delayed identifying sepsis because it’s something that’s hard to do, so leveraging the computer system and the artificial intelligence gives us a leg up,” said Dr. Paul Tesoriere, VP of Medical Affairs at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.
Sentara has rolled out the sepsis sniffer system at all of its hospitals and has seen the system-wide sepsis mortality rate drop 7.7% in July 2019. For the first quarter of 2019, Augusta Health had a rate of 8.5%.
Augusta Health Sepsis Mortality Trends 2016-2019:
Sentara Health CPI Sepsis Mortality Trends January 2017-July 2019:
|Month||Total Sepsis Vol||Tot Sepis Morts||Sepsis Mortality Rate||Month||HA Sepsis Vol||HA Sepsis Morts||HA Sepsis Mortality Rate|
|Jan 17||1140||137||12.0%||Jan 17||79||30||38.0%|
|Feb 17||1051||103||9.8%||Feb 17||89||20||22.5%|
|Mar 17||1102||136||12.3%||Mar 17||79||26||32.9%|
|Apr 17||998||112||11.2%||Apr 17||80||24||30.0%|
|May 17||963||99||10.3%||May 17||72||25||34.7%|
|Jun 17||1029||91||8.8%||Jun 17||72||18||25.0%|
|Jul 17||957||95||9.9%||Jul 17||75||16||21.3%|
|Aug 17||970||85||8.8%||Aug 17||78||20||25.6%|
|Sep 17||986||82||8.3%||Sep 17||71||23||32.4%|
|Oct 17||931||92||9.9%||Oct 17||79||28||35.4%|
|Nov 17||1026||109||10.6%||Nov 17||71||18||25.4%|
|Dec 17||1070||122||11.4%||Dec 17||94||25||26.6%|
|Jan 18||1217||137||11.3%||Jan 18||74||23||31.1%|
|Feb 18||997||118||11.8%||Feb 18||79||26||32.9%|
|Mar 18||1007||90||8.9%||Mar 18||97||19||19.6%|
|Apr 18||990||100||10.1%||Apr 18||83||21||25.3%|
|May 18||1019||118||11.6%||May 18||79||28||35.4%|
|Jun 18||1005||96||9.6%||Jun 18||97||23||23.7%|
|Jul 18||1021||97||9.5%||Jul 18||86||25||29.1%|
|Aug 18||1109||110||9.9%||Aug 18||86||23||26.7%|
|Sep 18||898||98||10.9%||Sep 18||83||25||30.1%|
|Oct 18||980||98||10.0%||Oct 18||85||19||22.4%|
|Nov 18||964||121||12.6%||Nov 18||99||39||39.4%|
|Dec 18||1132||127||11.2%||Dec 18||90||35||38.9%|
|Jan 19||1080||127||11.8%||Jan 19||79||22||27.8%|
|Feb 19||1009||108||10.7%||Feb 19||84||25||29.8%|
|Mar 19||1150||111||9.7%||Mar 19||87||24||27.6%|
|Apr 19||1186||113||9.5%||Apr 19||100||29||29.0%|
|May 19||1195||95||7.9%||May 19||91||26||28.6%|
|Jun 19||1067||89||8.3%||Jun 19||87||27||31.0%|
|Jul 19||1124||87||7.7%||Jul 19||93||26||28.0%|