September is Sepsis Awareness Month


Did you know that September is Sepsis Awareness Month?  The Sepsis Alliance defines sepsis as “the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.”  For those of us that are not clinical, our immune systems are meant to spring into action to prevent infection when the presence of a bacteria, fungus, parasite or virus is detected; sometimes, for unknown reasons, instead of fighting the possible source of infection, our immune system turns on itself, attacking our tissue and vital organs.  This is the beginning of sepsis.  

The statistics on sepsis are truly staggering. According to the CDC, in a typical year in America:

  • At least 1.7 million adults develop sepsis
  • At least 350,000 adults who develop sepsis die during their hospitalization or are discharged to hospice
  • 1 in 3 people who die in the hospital had sepsis during their hospital stay
  • Sepsis, or the infection causing sepsis, starts before a patient goes to the hospital in nearly 87% of the cases

Although anyone can develop sepsis, there are some people who are at higher risk than others including: 

  • People over the age of 65
  • People who have weakened immune systems
  • Children under the age of one
  • People with chronic medical conditions
  • People with recent severe illnesses or hospitalizations and people who have previously survived sepsis

It is important to mention that the Sepsis Alliance also notes that “Until a cure for sepsis is found, early detection and treatment is essential for survival and limiting disability for survivors.”

At Picis we understand the importance of early detection and treatment of sepsis.  To that end, Picis offers a Sepsis Screening Tool which employs rule-based notifications to help clinicians identify warning signs of changes in patient health. When sepsis rules are met, a red notification beacon displays in the patient band on the monitoring screen to notify staff of the potential for sepsis.  When this beacon is clicked a popup window provides basic information regarding the possible sepsis detection along with the ability to enter additional signs /symptoms or risk factors.  In addition, the tool provides a list of recommendations and the ability for clinicians to confirm or discard the possibility of sepsis and provide documentation notes. 

The sepsis screening tool is one way that we are helping to support clinicians in their care of patients. “Sepsis prevention is only possible by preventing infections with good and consistent hygiene and avoiding people with infections.” Learn more about prevention efforts through The Sepsis Alliance. As we continue through this month, check our blog and social media for updates and ways that we all can bring awareness to this life-threatening condition.

About the Author

Sonia Nagel, Vice President, Professional Services

During her time at Picis, Sonia has enjoyed working with numerous customers and coworkers to improve project management processes and customer experiences. Sonia comes to us with a hospital background and brings with her more than 20 years of Health Information Technology experience, the last 12 of which were spent focused on Application Support, Implementation and Customer Success.

In addition to her experience, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems Technologies, a PMP (Project Management Professional), RHIT (AHIMA Registered Health Information Technician) and a CHTS (AHIMA Certified Healthcare Technology Implementation Support Specialist).

Sonia believes that every day affords an opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally and she appreciates all that she learns from her customers and coworkers. When Sonia isn’t at work, she is often going for a run, a bike ride or hiking with her family and friends..