Implementation and evaluation of sepsis surveillance and decision support in medical ICU and emergency department

Kirill Lipatov, Craig E. Daniels, John G. Park, Jennifer Elmer, Andrew C. Hanson, Bo E. Madsen, Casey M. Clements, Ognjen Gajic, Brian W. Pickering, Vitaly Herasevich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To improve the timely diagnosis and treatment of sepsis many institutions implemented automated sepsis alerts. Poor specificity, time delays, and a lack of actionable information lead to limited adoption by bedside clinicians and no change in practice or clinical outcomes. We aimed to compare sepsis care compliance before and after a multi-year implementation of a sepsis surveillance coupled with decision support in a tertiary care center. Design: Single center before and after study. Setting: Large academic Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) and Emergency Department (ED). Population: Patients 18 years of age or older admitted to *** Hospital MICU and ED from 09/4/2011 to 05/01/2018 with severe sepsis or septic shock. Interventions: Electronic medical record-based sepsis surveillance system augmented by clinical decision support and completion feedback. Measurements and main results: There were 1950 patients admitted to the MICU with the diagnosis of severe sepsis or septic shock during the study period. The baseline characteristics were similar before (N = 854) and after (N = 1096) implementation of sepsis surveillance. The performance of the alert was modest with a sensitivity of 79.9%, specificity of 76.9%, positive predictive value (PPV) 27.9%, and negative predictive value (NPV) 97.2%. There were 3424 unique alerts and 1131 confirmed sepsis patients after the sniffer implementation. During the study period average care bundle compliance was higher; however after taking into account improvements in compliance leading up to the intervention, there was no association between intervention and improved care bundle compliance (Odds ratio: 1.16; 95% CI: 0.71 to 1.89; p-value 0.554). Similarly, the intervention was not associated with improvement in hospital mortality (Odds ratio: 1.55; 95% CI: 0.95 to 2.52; p-value: 0.078). Conclusions: A sepsis surveillance system incorporating decision support or completion feedback was not associated with improved sepsis care and patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-383
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Data display
  • Informatics
  • Information technology
  • Sepsis
  • Shock
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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