Guest post by Adam Klass, chief technology officer, VigiLanz.
Here are some downright chilling patient safety statistics keeping healthcare leaders up at night: Each year more than one million hospital patients – that’s 136 per hour, every day – are affected by sepsis, and 280,000 die. In addition, 82 people in hospitals are affected every hour, every day, by hospital-acquired infections (HAI), and 217 experience a preventable Adverse Drug Event (ADE).
The good news is that an emerging category of technology known as enterprise intelligence resources (EIR) can empower clinicians to more quickly and effectively tackle these infections and ADEs – and even prevent them from occurring in the first place. By integrating and analyzing massive amounts of data generated by multiple sources, EIRs are not only able to identify at-risk patients, but also to tell frontline clinicians in real-time what is happening – and likely to happen – with their patients. Equally important, the EIRs fit seamlessly into clinicians’ workflows, generating only essential alerts.
Built on flexible, interoperable data architectures, EIR platforms extend the value of existing EMRs by integrating real-time clinical and business intelligence with predictive analytics to address sepsis, HAIs and ADEs as well as a wide range of other patient safety and public health risks such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), venous thromboembolism (VTE), C. difficile (C.Diff), MRSA, surgery site infections, Ebola and MERS. Armed with EIR-provided actionable insights, clinicians can optimize appropriate interventions that improve patient outcomes, reduce patient safety risk and support quality initiatives.
Time is of the absolute essence in addressing patient safety risk, particularly in the case of sepsis. Research has shown that the earlier the intervention, the significantly lower the mortality and morbidity. EIRs can help significantly reduce sepsis risk by enabling clinicians to:
- Identify at-risk patients earlier. Based on historical hospital data, an EIR can create a profile and scoring system to calculate a sepsis risk score for each patient, flagging those whose risk exceeds a pre-defined threshold.
- Automatically track at-risk patients. The EIR closely monitors patients’ sepsis diagnostics and vital signs, and automatically updates their risk scores in the EMR.
- Deliver appropriate alerts. The EIR notifies clinicians when interventions are required and continues to monitor patients so treatment can be adjusted according to defined protocols.
Implementing this approach has been shown to reduce sepsis occurrence by double digits. Most importantly, patients’ lives are saved. At the same time, reducing sepsis occurrence can also significantly reduce costs, given that sepsis accounts for 40 percent of ICU spending and nearly $29 billion in healthcare expenditures.