Sepsis is defined as the presence of pathogenic organisms or their toxins in the blood or other tissues. It is characterized by a systemic inflammatory response which can progress to circulatory system dysfunction, multiple organ failure, and death. In fact, sepsis is the tenth leading cause of death worldwide. In hospitals, it accounts for 40 percent of total ICU costs. The worldwide hospital costs associated with sepsis are estimated to be $16.7 billion US dollars.
Early recognition of the signs and symptoms clinically associated with sepsis and instituting appropriate treatment is critical to saving patient lives and avoiding prolonged hospitalizations. That's why I'm excited to tell you about some excellent work being done at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville in partnership with Accent on Integration, Acuitec and Microsoft to help doctors get the upper hand on sepsis.
Software saves lives! That is the promise of a solution called the Patient Safety Screening Tool for Sepsis at Vanderbilt. Researchers, clinicians, developers and partners came together to create the Web-based solution that is now being tested. A variety of Microsoft development tools and applications were used. Microsoft architects and AOI developers also designed the PSST for Sepsis to be a modular solution so that the infrastructure could easily be reconfigured to screen for and manage other types of acquired diseases.
As I told you in an earlier HealthBlog post, VUMC has a long history of developing breakthrough clinical solutions using tools, technologies and applications from Microsoft. An example of this can be seen in the medical center's perioperative anesthesia information management system known as VPIMS. That solution is now being made available to other hospitals through Acuitec.
Patient information streaming from VPIMS into the Patient Safety Screening Tool for Sepsis provides the potential for real-time analysis and alerts to impending problems long before they might otherwise be recognized. Clinicians believe the screening tool will significantly help reduce the occurrence and severity of sepsis in at-risk patients. Vanderbilt researchers will study and quantify results of a PSST for Sepsis pilot over the next year when they plan to publish in a peer reviewed journal.
My thanks to Drs. Higgins, Barwise, and Lancaster at VUMC and to members of our US healthcare provider industry team, particularly Chris Sullivan and Randy Fusco.
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft Corporation