How real-time notification can improve patient care, cut sepsis treatment cost

Fighting common hospital-associated infections, such as sepsis, is an ongoing challenge for the healthcare community, but real-time communication and enhanced coordination of care can go a long way in helping curb these conditions.

Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition that develops as an extreme response to an infection, is an important clinical quality issue for hospitals across the nation — 1 in 3 patients who die in a hospital have sepsis, according to the CDC.

Collective Medical, a provider of care team collaboration technology, recently unveiled a new functionality on its event notification and care collaboration platform that will identify patients with a history of sepsis, enabling caregivers to give them more personalized care. The functionality will notify all facilities using the Collective platform as well as care teams who have existing relationships with the parents.

Amit Shah, MD, CMO of health plan services provider CareOregon, spoke with Becker's Hospital Review about how this new functionality will help providers better care for patients with a history of sepsis and what he hopes it will mean for CareOregon members specifically.

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Q: Could you describe the new functionality?

Dr. Amit Shah: CareOregon has been using Collective for a few years and really in essence what it's doing is it's providing real-time notification for hospital events and emergency department events.

A patient or a member goes into an acute setting, and you'd be surprised at how fragmented the health system is. The primary care provider or the provider caring for the individual or the folks coordinating their care [often don't] even know that they had an acute event.

So, the first part is really notifying [all the caregivers].

The second thing that I think is really important is that it's really about how do you use technology and information to do what I like to call precision medicine. As opposed to, you know, creating a broad stroke and trying to do everything at every time, we have to get a lot better at being really precise around identifying special populations or individuals or high-risk situations precisely and specifically so you can [implement] interventions.

And sepsis is just a great example of that, right? It's a high-acuity situation with lots of potential issues both medically and [in terms of] the care coordination needed, but you need the precision to be able to detect that population so you can [implement] the intervention. So, Collective's platform and the notification, in my opinion, is just an evolution of precision medicine. [It lets me] look in that haystack and find that needle that I need without having to pull each little [strand of] hay.

Q: How will knowing a patient's sepsis history help improve their care?

AS: It'll improve the care on an individual basis by [allowing caregivers to] coordinate the care that they need after that acute event.

But probably the most important thing is by focusing on this population that is a high-risk clinical and high utilization and cost [population], what can you do about it from a population perspective if you are able to gather all those notifications for your population and see what the patterns are.

I just wouldn't underestimate the population health strategy that uses precision medicine and precision tools like Collective to be able to deliver on interventions that are both point-of-care, which is critical, but also upstream and population-focused.

Q: What do you hope the new functionality will do for CareOregon?

AS: We are the largest server of the Medicaid population in the state of Oregon. And we know that medical costs in the U.S. health system, and certainly in Oregon, for members that we serve, continue to rise.

By having and serving Medicaid we feel a stewardship to the dollars, because they are limited. And so, we have to figure out how to address inappropriate utilization and medical cost trends. Using things like sepsis notifications and having tools that allow us to be precise, we can hone in on populations that we know cost the system a tremendous amount of money and we can [implement] interventions that help mitigate [high] utilization and coordinate the care afterward to prevent other unnecessary admissions or avoidable situations.

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