How can the NHS combat hospital-acquired infections once and for all?

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How can the NHS combat hospital-acquired infections once and for all?

Public Health England statistics claim that health care-acquired infections results in the loss of 5,000 lives a year in England and Wales.

The UK media has been reporting many stories about people suffering from the potentially life-threatening condition sepsis. It has been receiving publicity beyond just news recently. For example, there is currently a storyline in the UK soap opera Coronation Street on ITV where the young character Jack Webster has a life-threatening battle with sepsis after grazing his knee.

This comes soon after fatal sepsis storylines in another UK television series, Call the Midwife, and The Archers, a daily programme on BBC Radio 4. It’s worth highlighting that these programmes are tackling the issue to help raise awareness of this life-threatening condition. Statistics from the UK Sepsis Trust show that it affects 250,000 people every year (in the UK) and claims 44,000 lives.

Sepsis can result from an infection anywhere in the body, such as pneumonia, flu or urinary tract infections. The most common types of health care-acquired infections (HAI) that result in sepsis are respiratory infections (22.8 percent), urinary tract infections (17.2 percent) and surgical site infections (15.7 percent). Anyone of any age, gender or race can become infected; however, people in hospital environments have a higher risk of this because of factors such as chronic illness and age.

Despite antibiotic treatment, there is a mortality rate of 15-20 percent for serious HAI. Public Health England statistics claim that HAI results in the loss of 5,000 lives a year in England and Wales.

Each time someone acquires a hospital infection, there is a range of impacts to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), including:

  • Additional use of resources.
  • Greater patient discomfort.
  • A decrease in patient safety.

It’s apparent that health care-acquired infections represent a significant expense for NHS trusts, hospitals and communities, with an increased length of stay in hospital of between six and 14 days.

Despite antibiotic treatment, there is a mortality rate of 15-20 % for serious health care-acquired infections. It can be prevented with #healthcare #analytics Click To Tweet

At SAS, we believe that patient safety and quality contribute significantly to the mitigation of health care-acquired infections. HAI can be prevented or treated more effectively if patients at risk are identified at an early stage. And if this information is presented to health care professionals in a timely manner, it allows them to put in place preventive measures that can save lives.

By combining medical skills and expert analytics, it’s possible to automatically obtain data from electronic medical records, patient administrative systems, and medicine and microbiology systems.

Harnessing artificial intelligence techniques means data analytics has the ability to identify patients at elevated risk of HAI in real time.

Read in more detail about how analytics can improve health care here.

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About Author

Mark Frankish

SAS Data Scientist, SAS UK

Mark Frankish has over 15 years’ Analytical experience, with a breadth of industry domain knowledge and the SAS portfolio. He is a specialist in the Public Sector and the challenges and solutions in Welfare, Health and Fraud.

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