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Saving 227 Lives in Two Years by Keeping Eyes on the Signs of Sepsis

WellSpan Health clinicians remotely monitor patients to detect sepsis early

Sepsis can cause serious complications quickly, and 1 in 6 people who develop sepsis in the U.S. die from it, so it’s important for clinicians to act fast. Patients at WellSpan Health in Pennsylvania are much more likely to survive sepsis because a monitoring team quickly identifies signs of sepsis and intervenes. Since beginning the monitoring program, WellSpan clinicians have intervened nearly an hour sooner per patient, and they saved 227 lives in the first two years.

WellSpan uses an algorithm that constantly monitors patients’ Epic charts for small changes in vital signs such as temperature and heart rate. If the vital signs or a patient’s lab results could indicate sepsis, the monitoring team is notified.

Registered nurses on this team are located in a central command center, and they remotely monitor patients at each of WellSpan’s five hospitals. The nurses call a patient’s care team at the bedside if the patient might have sepsis so a physician or nurse can intervene.

“Our sepsis response plan is a marriage of real-time electronic healthcare data and a highly skilled clinical team,” said Steven Delaveris, DO, vice president of medical services at WellSpan. “With that powerful combination, WellSpan is leading the charge in cutting-edge ways to combat sepsis.”

Each member of the Epic community is encouraged to have a plan for responding to sepsis as quickly as possible. WellSpan’s efforts stand out as some of the best: they’re in at least the 90th percentile for sepsis mortality performance at every one of their hospitals.

“It’s phenomenal to see the success that WellSpan has had with their initiative,” said Nick Reese, who leads a sepsis prevention task force at Epic. “They’re putting the data that constantly flows into a patient’s chart into actionable next steps that help save lives.”

WellSpan received honors from the Joint Commission in 2019 for their work to improve sepsis outcomes. Read more about the Epic community’s efforts to combat sepsis. Epic community members can learn more about WellSpan’s program in their Success at Seven newsletter.