According to data, the most unmet need in healthcare today is sepsis. More than 1.7 million Americans get sepsis each year, resulting in 250,000 deaths. Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death. If not treated in a timely manner, it threatens a patient’s life.
In addition to being potentially fatal, sepsis is a leading cause of unplanned hospital readmissions and billions of dollars in health care costs. But there is good news. Sepsis is seen as one of the top preventable causes of death in hospitals. 35% of all in-hospital deaths are due to sepsis, and 80% of those deaths could be prevented with rapid diagnosis and treatment. Prehospital care with the help of telemedicine can provide the cost effective and faster time to treatment solution hospitals are seeking. In order to improve sepsis patient outcomes, there needs to be a greater emphasis on early recognition and treatment of sepsis in the prehospital setting.
Telemedicine can speed up sepsis recognition and treatment, which ultimately reduces sepsis mortality. Sepsis patient survival improves when identification and appropriate treatment happen within a three-hour window. One hospital in Colorado found that delays in sepsis care were caused by complexity in the hospital care process. Physicians and other team members would arrive separately to conduct tasks such as symptom assessment, blood draws, lab test orders, and other care steps. In addition, although the EHR system had alerts for deteriorating conditions in patients, there was no warning solely for sepsis. In addition, because various departments might use different sepsis protocols, health care providers need to work together better and follow a standardized workflow so they know how to treat a sepsis patient in a timely manner.
EMS and sepsis teams need a highly configurable mobile telemedicine solution that will allow teams to work the way they need to improve sepsis patient outcomes. Telemedicine enables EMS and hospital communication to provide quality patient care. Because sepsis patients should be treated within a three-hour window, EMS can help treat patients in the field before they arrive with the patient to the ED. EMS can communicate with a physician to diagnose the patient so they can provide the proper treatment, such as faster antibiotic administration and EGDT initiation. As the EMS are en route to the ED, the hospital staff can prepare their team for the patient’s arrival, thus treating the patient immediately.
With telemedicine, EMS and sepsis teams can initiate broader acute workflow improvements and build cohesive teams so all departments are following sepsis protocol. Sepsis teams would be better prepared for the inbound patient while lessening the handoff time and increasing data accuracy. Multi-faceted alerts, including data collection and vitals shared real-time with ETA tracking to providers, speeds treatment and engagement to improve patient outcomes.
Sepsis is one of the top deadly causes in hospitals, but it can also be prevented. With the right treatment at the right time, sepsis mortality rates can be reduced, and telemedicine may be the superhero that the industry needs.