HUNTINGTON — Cabell Huntington Hospital is continuing to work toward more positive outcomes in detecting and treating sepsis, a potentially life-threatening complication that can affect patients.

Sepsis occurs when the body's response to infection causes inflammation to tissues and organs, which can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.

Because risk of death increases up to 8 percent for each hour treatment is delayed and early treatment improves chances for survival, CHH has strengthened its focus on sepsis response and treatment with continual process improvement and tracking to provide quality outcomes in care, according to a news release from the hospital.

Cabell Huntington Hospital now uses InSight, a machine learning algorithm for sepsis prediction to forecast sepsis. According to officials, CHH is the first hospital in West Virginia to use this system.

"Because the early clinical diagnosis of sepsis can be challenging and time is so critical, we turned to Insight to assist nurses and physicians with an earlier electronic alerting system. We are already seeing a positive impact for our patients," said Dr. Hoyt J. Burdick, senior vice president and chief medical officer at CHH. "By coupling this system with a team dedicated to quick response specifically for sepsis, we continue to see an improvement in positive outcomes."

InSight analyzes routinely collected data in the electronic health record to forecast sepsis and provide nurses and physicians with much earlier notice that sepsis may be occurring. Since implementing this system over a year ago, CHH has seen a significant improvement in early sepsis identification and treatment.

In addition, Jeremy Tidd, RN, nurse manager of the Intensive Care Unit at CHH, said the new Sepsis Response Team created in June provides faster response and treatment to sepsis alerts.

Sepsis occurs in three stages starting with sepsis and progressing through severe sepsis to septic shock.

By implementing a team process using an alert system and a fast response process, sepsis can be treated during its early stage, before it becomes more dangerous.

"The team is made up of six nursing staff members who rotate an on-call schedule for sepsis alerts. When a sepsis alert page is sent, the nurse quickly responds and assesses the patient to provide immediate information to the attending physician," Tidd explained in the release. "The physician begins treatment based on the individual patient's needs. We will continue to monitor outcomes and improve processes to treat sepsis earlier."

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