Oregon hospital to expand use of control center to head off sepsis

A control center at Oregon Health & Science University is now focusing attention on improving sepsis care, long a vexing challenge for hospitals.

The centralized control center collects data from the organization’s electronic health record system and other metrics, presents visualizations of patients at risk, and tracks the trajectory of a patient’s progress with built-in clinical decision support alerts.

The center was created in 2017 in an effort to gain better visibility on how to improve patient transfers in the Portland-based three-hospital delivery system. The “Mission Control Center” from GE Healthcare was launched to understand barriers and bottlenecks that can occur during treatment and have better visualization of which patients need to be treated first.

Using the control center, OHSU accepted 6.5 percent more transfer patients, declined 18 percent fewer transfer patients and had 519 transfers accepted to partner hospitals, receiving a seven times return on investment while improving patient flow processes and throughput in acute and outpatient care. Centralized command via the control center further keeps track of where patients and nurses are to make sure nurses aren’t often unnecessarily pulled out of a room for another matter and suffer alert fatigue.

GE Healthcare now is building a new software “tile,” or application, in the control center that will suggest actions to clinicians and administrators to support better management of sepsis care.

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“Sepsis is difficult to diagnose and, if not treated early, is associated with high mortality rates,” says Matthias Merkel, MD, medical director of adult critical care and chief medical capacity officer at OHSU. “The objective of this new sepsis tile and algorithm is to provide our team with a head start to help us catch sepsis before it strikes.”

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The new sepsis app, expected to be live this fall, will support early sepsis detection and management of not just at-risk patients but all patients. When the algorithm detects risk, it will flag mission controllers who will research and help care teams be ready for a response.

Sepsis is difficult to identify because what often looks like normal inflammation in a patient following surgery could actually be sepsis, says Merkel.

During initial plans for the sepsis app development, Jeff Terry, Command Centers CEO at GE Healthcare, who is leading development of the sepsis detection app, visited several other hospitals where the idea of an app giving clinicians a backstop against sepsis strongly resonated

“A centralized operation with real-time data feeds is very powerful," says Terry. “A nurse not at the bedside could miss a trend in the patient that the monitor picked up, but the nurse wouldn’t know it without the app.”

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