Posted on August 20, 2019 by staff

Hundreds of lives saved through new tech to spot sepsis


The NHS has claimed to have 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’ tech is being introduced which uses algorithms to read patients’ vital signs and alert medics of the warning sign of sepsis.

Sepsis – also known as blood poisoning – 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.

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, which is being put down to the 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.

“Sepsis is an extremely serious condition, but as part of the NHS Long Term Plan we have made huge improvements in spotting and treating it quickly, with more than nine in 10 people getting the checks they need,” said Celia Ingham Clark, medical director for clinical effectiveness at NHS England and NHS Improvement.”

“Now, with the help of innovative digital tools, the NHS is saving more lives by getting even better at identifying and treating sepsis.

Dr Ron Daniels BEM, CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust, added: “These innovations involve technology that uses existing recognition strategies for sepsis. In the coming years, however, we expect that our improved understanding of the condition, combined with the embracing of evermore advancing technology, will ensure that we deliver the very best care to the patients who need it most urgently.”