HCA Healthcare Launches SPOT Program to Detect Sepsis

Last month, Nashville-based HCA Healthcare announced it has developed an algorithm-driven, real-time system to more quickly identify patients with sepsis and help save lives. HCA Healthcare's Sepsis Prediction and Optimization of Therapy (SPOT) technology, which has been used with more than 2.5 million patients, is estimated to have helped save 8,000 lives in the last five years when used in conjunction with evidence-based clinical interventions.

Sepsis, a leading cause of hospital deaths, can rapidly progress without accurate identification ... a task that is made more difficult as sepsis symptoms are similar to those of many other illnesses. "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," said Jonathan Perlin, MD, HCA Healthcare's chief medical officer and president, clinical services group.

SPOT - an algorithm and alert system created by HCA Healthcare clinical and IT experts using data from tens of millions of hospitalizations - 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. HCA Healthcare's SPOT links algorithmic sepsis detection with clinical workflow and quickly alerts care teams to important, but often subtle changes, in a patient's condition so they can take appropriate action.

HCA Healthcare officials said SPOT is the first of many initiatives across the enterprise to leverage data at-scale and in real-time to drive both discovery and clinical improvement as a natural outgrowth of patient care. Clinical and data science teams expect to continue to improve the algorithm by combining real-world experiences and outcomes with techniques of machine learning and artificial intelligence to enhance clinical effectiveness. Building upon the SPOT technology employed in the inpatient setting, HCA Healthcare is developing "SPOT-ER," which the company plans to begin deploying in emergency rooms this year. Other plans to use machine learning to more quickly detect critical or life-threatening conditions include a focus on shock in trauma patients, post-operative complications, and early signs of deterioration in all patients.