The ICU that I used to work in also had a sepsis screening tool. However, this tool was a computer based program. It was linked with each patient’s chart. The screening tool would fire based on heart rate, blood pressure, and lab values (in particular WBC and coagulation times).
My primary role during my time on the unit was the rapid response nurse. After the sepsis screening tool fired a pager would go off with the patient’s information (Name was not included, just the FIN and MRN numbers along with location of the patient).
I feel it was a GREAT tool. Especially when you would go to the unit and get ABG results with a pH of 6.9 which did happen a few times. By far the benefit outweighs the risks, which in this case most of the “risk” was financial.
The system had a lot of false alerts. Most of the alerts were from the dialysis patients and the OB patients in active labor. But we still went and saw every patient. The biggest downfall for the sepsis screening was probably the financial burden. I’m sure the program was expensive. I know a lot of staff hours were spent for the rapid response nurses to go and see every patient. But I personally have seen it save lives!
From a floor nurse standpoint, I think most of the nurses liked it and I’m sure the families were relieved that the hospital had many checks and balances just in case the provider or nurse overlooked some vital information or lab values.