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Microsoft partner Accent on Integration has rolled out a patient safety screening tool at Vanderbilt University Medical Center that can improve early detection of hospital-acquired infections, with the potential to save thousands of lives.

Sepsis is the body’s systemic response to infection, which in severe cases can cause organ failure and death. It’s estimated that 750,000 people die each year from sepsis, said Randy Fusco, chief technology officer and strategist for Microsoft’s U.S. health care provider industry unit. 

Normally, it’s difficult to draw a direct correlation between a technology implementation and an improvement in the quality of patient care, Fusco said, since improved patient outcomes as a result of technology are so difficult to measure. However, in this instance, he said the positive impact of the tool on patient outcomes was obvious within the first few months.

The tool has been piloted in Vanderbilt’s 23-bed neurological care unit, said Jeff McGeath, vice president and CTO for AOI. As of April 18, the technology had detected 14 patients with sepsis, McGeath said.

"If sepsis is identified early and proper treatment is given within three hours of detection, your survival rate is something like 80 percent," he said.

However, if detection is delayed more than six hours or a misdiagnosis is made, survival rates drop to about 15 percent, he said.

Read the full story on eWEEK.com.