NHS England has announced that ‘hundreds of lives’ have been saved through a recent major nationwide push to tackle sepsis, owing to better use of digital technology in hospitals.
The drive includes a one-hour identification and treatment ambition, as well as a new ‘alert and action’ technology which uses algorithms to read patients’ vital signs and alert medics to worsening conditions that are a warning sign of sepsis.
So far, three leading hospitals – Liverpool, Cambridge and Berkshire - 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.
The drive is already proving successful, as in Cambridge alone deaths from sepsis have fallen consistently over the last three years, with at least 64 lives saved in the past year thanks to the innovative alert and action feature.
Recently an analysis of national data by King’s College London researchers has found that patients who survive sepsis are at higher risk of death for up to five years.
Dr Ron Daniels of the UK Sepsis Trust welcomed the initiative, “especially at such a time when the national spotlight is on the swift diagnosis and treatment of sepsis.”
He went on to say that any kind of technology which assists clinicians in making prompt decisions when the warning signs of sepsis are detected should be “embraced”, and reminded the public that “with every hour that passes before the right antibiotics are administered the risk of death increases.”
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.
Hospitals across the NHS are now learning from over 60 pilots, trials and blueprints based on lessons from where new technology has been used successfully across the country.