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Ep. 77: Boston Children's Hospital's Dr. Eisenberg and Dr. Madden on Identifying Pediatric Sepsis

Published on 5/29/2018

Sepsis is frequently underrepresented by the media. The truth is that sepsis is something many children and adults are at risk for. Sepsis is a leading cause of death for kids worldwide. While most are familiar with those risks, many are unfamiliar with sepsis. As difficult it is for parents to be aware of what to look for that might indicate sepsis, it can sometimes be difficult for even providers to diagnose sepsis.

In this episode of the Cerner Podcast, we’re joined by Dr. Matthew Eisenberg and Dr. Kate Madden, both from Boston Children’s Hospital. They discuss pediatric sepsis and septic shock, as well as their investigation of electronic health record data to proactively identify potentially septic children with an early-detection pediatric sepsis algorithm.

Dr. Eisenberg and Dr. Madden answer the following questions:

  • Let's start with some basics. Can you give our listeners an overview of sepsis – why is it so difficult to recognize and how is pediatric sepsis different from adult sepsis?
  • As busy clinicians in the hospital setting, you may see multiple patients with signs that may point to a sepsis diagnosis but may not be very specific. We’re trying to differentiate the kids who have abnormal findings and pinpoint the ones that have sepsis. During those evaluations, you’re Design placing data inputs into the electronic health record software. Can you discuss how EHR software may detect sepsis and what your reasoning was behind a specific pediatric sepsis EHR algorithm?
  • Let’s talk about the design of the algorithm itself. There must have been many variables to consider as this algorithm came into formation. Can you describe the range of characteristics of the pediatric sepsis algorithm based on different scenarios a provider would encounter? What were some of the challenges you had to solve for as you designed this algorithm?
  • Let’s talk about clinical integration. You’re still working on integrating this algorithm, so perhaps you can detail how the plans are looking, some of the barriers to integration that you’ve encountered and how you foresee the algorithm being integrated.
  • Given the advancements in pediatric sepsis detection through an EHR, which you both have directly impacted, can you discuss any plans to iterate on the algorithm moving forward? What other factors need to be further addressed to affect the rate of pediatric septic fatalities?

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