Health Information Management

Tip: Can technology bridge the gap for new sepsis criteria?

CDI Strategies, April 21, 2016

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by Amy Czahor, RHIT, CCS, CDIP
Organizations should be able to mine computer-assisted coding (CAC) or EHR software to identify cases for review related to the new Sepsis 3 criteria, published last month. System logic should cull records with a discrete lab value of a serum lactate level greater than 2 mmol/L. As a second step, these cases need to be cross-referenced with data regarding whether the patient is on a vasopressor and if the vasopressor keeps the patient’s MAP [mean arterial pressure] at greater than 65 mmHg.
CAC, EHRs, and other natural language processing (NLP) software can track the facility’s rate of sepsis and septic shock to demonstrate whether either diagnosis increases over time due to use of the new criteria.
CDI program managers should monitor:
  1. What happens to mortality rate for cases of sepsis and septic shock with the new criteria
  2. How does the data compare with the previous year?
  3. Are data changes related to the new criteria cause the shifts, or other cause
Editor’s note: Czahor is vice president of optimization and analytics services at Records One. She was the former regional CDI program director for Sutter Health in Sacramento, California and has over 13 years of HIM experience. Read the related article, “Five questions for CDI to consider regarding new sepsis criteria.”
ACDIS will addressed sepsis concerns in an webinar, “New Sepsis Definition: Evolving Clinical, Documentation, and Coding Challenges,”and will have a special panel discussion on the topic during the 2016 ACDIS Conference in Atlanta in May.

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