mHealth ROI

3 Ways Sentinel Empowers Nurses As Sepsis First Responders

October 11, 2016 | Uniphy Health

The 2015 release of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ sepsis management bundle has created a sense of urgency for U.S. hospitals to address sepsis as a medical emergency. In the U.S., mortality from sepsis is estimated to be greater than the number of deaths from AIDS, prostate cancer and breast cancer combined. The majority of hospitals lack systems that promote earlier recognition and treatment of sepsis. Much of the reporting and workflow burden, as a result, is being placed on nursing staffs. Nurses often serve as the first line of response in sepsis treatment and management protocols. They are primarily responsible for preventing the spread and reducing the likelihood of a potentially fatal septic shock. And yet, study after study has revealed that nurses are already burdened with heavy workloads. With Uniphy Health’s Sentinel solution, however, nurses can detect, manage and respond to sepsis without burdening their already strained workflows.


Automated Sepsis Detection—Monitoring by Nurses Not Required

Hospital protocols for sepsis typically place the responsibility of identifying early signs of sepsis on nurses, as they most frequently monitor patients’ vital signs. If vital signs are presenting as abnormal, or the general status of the patient is deteriorating, nurses need to act fast. Because the symptoms of sepsis—which include fever, confusion and lower blood pressure—can be an indication of any number of other conditions, sepsis is often missed or misattributed. Sentinel can reduce this risk and detect sepsis in its earliest stages, using as little as the data feed collected from lab results and pharmaceutical orders. The system is designed to achieve early detection of sepsis in patients independent of nurses’ observations of vital signs. Patient notes and EHR data enhance the sensitivity of Sentinel’s detection engine.


Automated Sepsis Follow Up

Even when sepsis is detected at an early stage the condition can worsen and become fatal if the response is not implemented quickly enough. Many hospital protocols require nurses to take the initiative in forming sepsis response teams. The Sentinel solution automates this process for nursing staff by assigning multidisciplinary teams to septic patients, and consulting on-call lists and workload logs in real-time. Immediately after detecting sepsis, Sentinel delivers evidence-based sepsis management tasks only to hospitalists in the best position to respond. By producing 75 percent fewer alerts than commonly used sepsis response systems, Sentinel dramatically reduces alarm fatigue, as only high-value tasks are assigned to sepsis response team members.


Real-Time Communication Channels For Lightning-Fast Sepsis Response

With sepsis, a patient’s health can deteriorate dangerously fast. Hospital protocols for sepsis often leave nurses responsible for recognizing and treating the condition, as well as coordinating care with physicians. Failure to communicate in a timely manner can lead to life-threatening delays in diagnosis and treatment. Sentinel minimizes this risk by automating sepsis response coordination and providing multiple channels for response team personnel to follow up with individual team members as well as the entire group. Hospital directories are integrated into the backend of Sentinel’s mobile app, allowing nurses, physicians and other sepsis response team members to securely text and call one another with one click. As soon as nurses suspect that a sepsis patient’s condition is worsening, they can message their team or initiate system alert notifications. Sepsis response team members can review nurse recordings of early goal-directed therapy, such as the administration of IV fluids or antibiotics, and also read notes detailing the patient’s response to performed treatments securely within the app.

The Sentinel solution for sepsis alleviates the clinical workflow burdens associated with sepsis management bundles and reporting. With the combined power of predictive analytics, evidence-based automation and mobile communication, sepsis response teams are able to focus their efforts on providing high-quality care and attention. Hospitals in turn are better equipped to avoid the mortality, long-term cognitive issues, lengthy hospital stays, and readmissions complications that sepsis often causes.