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Sepsis data tool could improve care and patient outcomes, says nurse expert

The SOS Insights Dashboard builds a picture of cases of suspicion of sepsis and connected conditions at local, regional and national level

The SOS Insights Dashboard builds a picture of cases of suspicion of sepsis and connected conditions at local, regional and national level


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An information tool to measure suspicion of sepsis (SOS) data could drive improvements in care, according to a nurse who helped to develop it.

The SOS Insights Dashboard enables organisations to see an overall picture of hospital patients coded in the SOS category, allowing them to assess the scale of the problem at a local, regional and national level.

It provides insight into the numbers of emergency admissions, rates of survival and lengths of stay.

‘A real breakthrough’

John Welch, a consultant nurse for critical care and critical care outreach at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, helped develop the dashboard. He is one of four sepsis leads at the trust.

He said: ‘Sepsis accounts for more deterioration among patients in hospitals than any other condition and is probably the biggest single cause of death.

'The dashboard is a real breakthrough and one of the only systems like it in the world.’ 

Sepsis claims approximately 37,000 lives a year in England and is caused when the body responds to a bacterial infection by attacking its own tissues and organs.

The SOS Insights Dashboard was created by Imperial College Health Partners through the Patient Safety Collaborative, alongside NHS Improvement and NHS England.

Sharing best practice

Mr Welch says: ‘Coding of sepsis has been notoriously unreliable, but the beauty of the SOS dashboard is it encompasses other codes that could all be causes of sepsis such as those for bacterial infections.

‘There is now a chance for hospitals and clinicians to not only monitor their own results but to look to each other for best practice as a driver for change.’

Meanwhile, a study by Imperial College London and Harvard Medical School in the United States found sepsis deaths in the UK are five times higher than in Finland, the best-performing country in Europe for sepsis mortality.

For example, in the UK there were 35 deaths per 100,000 women in 2015, whereas in Finland there were 6.5 (in 2014), according to research presented to a conference in Paris this week.


Related material

SOS Insights Dashboard tool 


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