Sepsis kills more than 200,000 Americans each year—and with every hour of treatment delay, the death rate goes up by 4 to 7 percent. This September, during Sepsis Awareness Month, we’re recognizing the importance of sepsis awareness and early detection—and how leading-edge technology that dually taps the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and CC&C can help.

Frequently, we talk about the importance of clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) tools within the context of everyday workflows—like improving patient throughput or avoiding HIPAA missteps. But beyond unlocking workflow efficiencies or improving compliance, CC&C tools like MH-CURE can bring more than operational advancements. Sometimes, they can even be the difference between life and death.

That’s the case for MH-CURE®’s integration with the SPOT prediction system for sepsis, a deadly and time-sensitive disease that requires careful attention and swift action.

What Is Sepsis?

Sepsis happens when a patient’s body goes into overdrive to fight infection. Treated with the urgency similar to a heart attack or stroke, sepsis can cause widespread inflammation and lead to septic shock, organ failure and sometimes death.

Because sepsis can be so fatal—it’s more deadly than prostate cancer, AIDS and breast cancer combined and is present in 33 percent of all hospital deaths—clinicians emphasize rapid intervention, deployed as soon as possible. But with nonspecific, subtle symptoms that make sepsis difficult to diagnose, that can be a challenge.

Enter SPOT, the AI-powered sepsis sniffer.

What Is SPOT?

As a special initiative from Mobile Heartbeat’s parent company HCA Healthcare, SPOT (Sepsis Prediction and Optimization of Therapy) leverages artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and best-practice protocols to flag high-risk patients for sepsis and ensure they’re monitored appropriately.

“It’s no coincidence that we call the technology ‘SPOT’—a common name for a child’s dog—because it really does act as our sepsis sniffer,” said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, HCA Healthcare’s Chief Medical Officer, in HCA Today. “The whole point is for it to sniff smoke and put the ‘fire’ out before it becomes catastrophic. With SPOT, we’re identifying at least one-third more cases of sepsis that would not previously have come to caregivers’ attention until it was too late.”

SPOT can instantly and consistently analyze multiple data inputs—metrics like vital signs, labs and nursing reports, for example—to identify patterns that indicate sepsis is (or will be) a threat for any given patient. The algorithm to detect high-risk patients was informed by data from millions of hospitalizations over several years.

By analyzing that information without interruption, the machine can predict sepsis about 18 hours sooner than a human can, with a 100 percent sensitivity rate, as seen at HCA Healthcare-affiliated hospitals. But once the technology detects sepsis risk, the next step is to notify the clinical team.

That’s where Mobile Heartbeat comes in.

infographic describing sepsis diagnosis statistics


Faster Sepsis Screening: When Every Moment Matters

When SPOT detects data patterns that indicate a sepsis threat for a particular patient, it initiates an alerting workflow, delivering an urgent, patient-specific notification to the appropriate care team members through MH-CURE’s Inbound Alerting API.

Because those interventions require a rapid, coordinated effort among multiple care team members, the MH-CURE Platform continues to play an important role throughout that process by enabling secure communication between everyone in less time and with less room for error.

With MH-CURE’s Broadcast feature, for example, clinicians can share the code call with as many people as needed. System administrators can even configure a specific code sepsis team to receive any appropriate alerts. Along the way, continuous inbound alerting and other integrations help the care team monitor septic patients’ vitals, lab results, telemetry waveforms and more.

“When you’re dealing with septic patients, the clinical utility of MH-CURE’s capabilities becomes all the more important,” said Lauren Hart Clancy, Director of Strategic Programs at Mobile Heartbeat. “The entire MH-CURE dashboard is a communication mission control for interventions, monitoring, collaboration and informed real-time decision-making. That level of seamless collaboration translates into faster, more seamless care delivery.”

Closing Operational Gaps, One Alert at a Time

The time-sensitive severity of sepsis cannot go understated. Last year, in a testimony before the United States Senate, Dr. Perlin put it best: “Time is life.”

So clearly, having a dedicated and accurate warning system is a critical asset for any clinical team. SPOT is exactly that—and paired with MH-CURE, it becomes an even more powerful tool that can close operational gaps and reduce workflow friction for the ultimate benefit of timely, quality care.

After all, sepsis is a top driver of readmissions and mortality and costs more than $20 billion annually in acute care hospitalizations. Undeniably, dollars are at stake. Most importantly, lives are too. Nearly half of all reported cases of sepsis end in death. But imagine: If technology could accelerate diagnosis and treatment, how many of those lives could we save?

With so much on the line, every moment matters. We’re proud to help HCA Healthcare make the most of every one of them.