Electronic alert in pediatric ER ups severe sepsis detection by 13%

Researchers from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia examined the sensitivity and specificity of an electronic alert system intended to help clinicians identify severe sepsis cases among children in the emergency room. They published their findings in Annals of Emergency Medicine.

The researchers studied a two-step sepsis trigger tool — an electronic alert combined with a "sepsis huddle." The huddle included a pediatric emergency medicine physician and nurse who evaluated the child at the bedside.

They reviewed EHR data for 182,509 ER visits from June 2013 to May 2014. Of the total number of ER visits studied, 86,037 were before the electronic sepsis alert implementation and 96,472 were afterward.

The electronic sepsis alert increased ER sepsis detection from 83 percent to 96 percent. Overall, 0.3 patients were treated for severe sepsis within 24 hours.

"Implementation of the electronic sepsis alert was associated with improved recognition of severe sepsis," study authors concluded.

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