Health EHR Helps Orlando Health Improve Sepsis Care

Each year, 750,000 Americans contract sepsis, a serious medical condition caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection. Though it is treatable, between 28% and 50% of sepsis patients die from the condition, making it more deadly than breast cancer, AIDS and prostate cancer combined, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Sepsis is preventable, and at Orlando Health, we have set a high priority on infection control as our quality initiative,” says Michael L. Cheatham, M.D., director of the surgical intensive care unit at Orlando Health.

However, sepsis is preventable and treatable only if physicians can detect it and intervene before it begins to progress. Over the past four years, Orlando Health reduced its sepsis mortality rate by 25% using its electronic health records system to help physicians diagnose and treat patients within one hour of their arrival.

The not-for-profit eight-hospital delivery system implemented a series of advanced clinical decision support and workflow changes within its EHR, from Chicago-based Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., as part of the effort. The changes included an automated sepsis assessment, new sepsis order sets, a nursing documentation tool and a structured note in its integrated emergency department information system, also from Allscripts.

Now an automated severe sepsis alert code triggered by the EDIS notifies a physician to immediately implement sepsis care guidelines and order sets recommended by the international Surviving Sepsis Campaign. It also walks them through procedures for fluid resuscitation and antibiotic administration.

The decision support also enabled Orlando Health to increase its percentage of sepsis patients identified and treated within one hour of arrival to 73%, as well as reduce their average length of stay by 33%.

 “The EHR is an essential part of our initiative to eradicate central-line associated bloodstream infection and catheter-related urinary tract infection,” Cheatham says.