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20
Aug

Digital tech tackles sepsis


The NHS has saved hundreds of people from sepsis thanks to better use of digital technology in hospitals.

 

In a major nationwide push to tackle the condition, including a one hour identification and treatment ambition, new ‘alert and action’ technology is being introduced which uses algorithms to read patients’ vital signs and alert medics to worsening conditions that are a warning sign of sepsis.

 

Sepsis is a life-threatening response to an infection in the body, where the immune system damages tissues and organs.

 

Three leading hospitals are using alerts to help identify sepsis and tell doctors when patients with the serious condition are getting worse, ahead of the measures being rolled out across England as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. 

 

NHS leaders in Cambridge, Liverpool and Berkshire are now helping the rest of the health service to adopt tools to spot it, which costs 37,000 lives a year and is notoriously difficult to identify.

 

In Liverpool, the hospital’s digital system brings together lab results and patient observations into one place to help staff diagnose and treat suspected sepsis, saving up to 200 lives a year.

 

In Cambridge, deaths from sepsis have fallen consistently over the last three years, with at least 64 lives saved in the past year thanks to the innovative alert and action feature.

 

In Berkshire since introducing a digital system, the Trust has increased screening rates by 70% with nine in 10 patients now consistently screened for sepsis during admission as opposed to two in ten beforehand, allowing doctors to spot more cases sooner.

 

The schemes are part of a national effort to push best practice and new technology across the NHS, to help hospitals learn from the success of others and spread use of the best technology further, faster.

 

This year the NHS also made it mandatory for all hospitals in England to implement national sepsis guidance, including that hospital staff must alert senior doctors if patients with suspected sepsis do not respond to treatment within an hour.  

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