HCA Healthcare says analytics system can detect sepsis quickly

SPOT platform uses algorithms to pinpoint critical data points in EHRs, the system says.
By Nathan Eddy
10:44 AM

Nashville-based HCA Healthcare announced the launch of Sepsis Prediction and Optimization of Therapy (SPOT), an algorithm driven, real-time system to more quickly identify patients with sepsis.


Created using data from millions of hospitalizations, SPOT continuously monitors vital signs, lab results, nursing reports and other data that can inform treatment, and recognizes critical data points in patients’ electronic health records.

In addition, the highly sensitive SPOT platform links algorithmic sepsis detection with clinical workflow and alerts care teams to important, often subtle changes in a patient’s condition.


“SPOT is designed to monitor available data every moment of every day, and when combinations of lab data that are consistent with sepsis are detected, the system responds by alerting clinicians so they can more quickly intervene,” HCA Healthcare’s chief medical officer and president of the clinical services group Dr. Jonathan Perlin said in a statement.


Sepsis, an overwhelming infection that can lead to total body failure, kills more than a quarter of a million Americans each year--more than breast cancer, prostate cancer, and AIDS combined, according to figures from the Sepsis Alliance.

HCA claims that the algorithm, which was informed by data from 31 million annual patient care episodes, can detects signs of potential sepsis humans cannot see, while excluding instances when humans inaccurately suspect sepsis.

“Studies about sepsis show that the sooner we can act, and act effectively, the more likely the patient is to survive. SPOT is a technology and workflow that helps us catch sepsis early and more likely prevent catastrophe,” Dr. Michael Nottidge, critical care medical director at HCA Healthcare’s TriStar Centennial Medical Center, said in a statement.

He explained that SPOT does not make decisions, but rather monitors in the background and brings up-to-date information to the caregivers who do make decisions.

The organization’s clinical and data science teams expect to continue to improve the algorithm through a combination of real-world experiences and machine learning and artificial intelligence to enhance clinical effectiveness.

HCA also has plans to use machine learning to more quickly detect other critical or life-threatening conditions such as shock in trauma patients, post-operative complications, and early signs of deterioration in all patients.

“With sepsis, minutes matter, and just as we’ve improved safety in our homes with smoke detectors that ‘sniff out’ possible fire, HCA Healthcare’s SPOT technology now helps detect sepsis earlier, accelerating treatment, improving the care provided to our patients and thereby saving lives,” Perlin continued.

The SPOT platform is the first initiative from HCA that leverages data at-scale and in real-time to drive both discovery and improvement.

Building upon the technology employed in the inpatient setting, HCA is also developing “SPOT-ER,” which the company plans to begin deploying in emergency rooms this year.

HCA’s national clinical data warehouse is the heart of the organization’s data ecosystem and provides the ability to aggregate and analyze data streams in real time and feed tools like SPOT.

This information architecture was also the basis for HCA’s Reduce MRSA trial, a three-arm, comparative effectiveness study involving 43 cluster-randomized hospitals and nearly 75,000 patients.

In just 18 months, the study demonstrated a 44 percent all-cause reduction of potentially life-threatening bloodstream infections among intensive care unit patients by employing a “universal decolonization” strategy.

Digital Transformation in Healthcare

In May, we'll talk to experts and professionals on the front lines about what's really happening today with the digital transformation in healthcare and what hospital executives need to be doing right now.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.

Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com

Twitter: @dropdeaded209 

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication. 

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(Photo courtesy ChristianaCare)

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