Of the 95 provider organizations surveyed that are using an electronic clinical decision support (CDS) tool to identify and monitor for sepsis, more than two-thirds (69 percent) reported improved outcomes, with up to a 50 percent drop in mortality.

Half of the providers reported an increase in staff and provider compliance with protocols, and several reported reductions in length of stay, readmissions and/or costs.

The use of technology to deal with sepsis is still relatively new, but it’s “burgeoning,” says Kody Hansen, research manager of CDS at KLAS, based near Salt Lake City, and co-author of the report.

“We were surprised by the variety of approaches vendors are seeking to address sepsis in the health care environment and variety of ways providers are [tackling it.] There is no shortage of effort,” he says.

Some of the ways that vendors are providing technological support include:

  • Electronic health record approaches, using functionalities in the system
  • Infection control/surveillance CDS
  • Performance-based analytics solutions to monitor clinical effectiveness and reporting of key metrics
  • Specialty solutions, such as ones for a particular hospital department

The ease of deployment varies significantly depending on the tool, causing some hospitals to turn to third-party solutions rather than use their own EHR vendor’s product, according to the report. Providers may access the report at www.klasresearch.com.

Of the 102 providers KLAS interviewed that have not adopted technology to deal with sepsis, 53 percent are considering an EHR module or in-house development using the EHR platform and 19 percent are considering a third-party solution.

Sepsis is a major cause of mortality in hospitals. “Sepsis is a critical use case to target,” he says.

The report notes that the sepsis-monitoring technology market is still relatively immature. However, “given the early success from providers, I imagine we’ll see greater traction in this. Hospitals are recognizing its importance clinically and from a cost basis,” says Hansen.

The report also found that clinical decision support technology itself is evolving from passive alert systems to more active intelligence, making data actionable at the point of care, says Hansen.

“The technology exists for combating sepsis. If we can get a CMIO [chief medical information officer] to take a look and make great strides in sepsis initiatives, we’ll feel that the study was worthwhile,” he says.