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by Cerner UK
Published on 13 September 2016

Sepsis kills over 44,000 people in the UK every year. More than lung cancer, breast cancer and bowel cancer combined. As some symptoms of sepsis share similarities with conditions like stroke, it can easily go misdiagnosed or undetected until it is too late.

In June 2015, Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) went live with Cerner’s St John’s Sepsis Algorithm. This algorithm continuously monitors every patient’s vital signs and physical attributes from tests and adopts international best practice guidelines to identify key early signs of sepsis and potential risks. If a patient is detected at risk, an automatic alert is generated on the bedside monitor and care givers device screens, resulting in immediate action.

“A patient could be coming into A&E and sitting to wait to be seen. We don’t want to be missing that ‘golden hour’.” Julie Reid, Associate Director of Nursing

The benefits and successes enjoyed at WUTH stems from staff engagement, ongoing training for all clinical staff, irrespective of rank or function but based on improving patient care and improving outcomes. For example, health care assistants are in the process of being trained and empowered to take action if alerted to sepsis risk.

Since its introduction, the algorithm has been tailored to meet the needs of WUTH clinical work flow and local patient care needs. This has resulted in a 142% increase in sepsis awareness and 18.75% reduction in length of stay.

As a result WUTH is able to focus on saving lives and making a difference to patients, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“What we currently have developed is a good system and we are already seeing definite benefits. We still have a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be with it, but the potential is incredible.” Mark Hughes, Clinical Lead & Sepsis Lead, ITU