3 Critical Success Factors for Sepsis Screening Tools


The key goals of a comprehensive sepsis program are early identification and early appropriate interventions. Electronic health records provide the opportunity to embed digital screening tools to alert clinicians for early identification of sepsis. A number of sepsis screening tools are available and range from simple rules-based tools built around SIRS or qSOFA criteria to more sophisticated predictive models sifting through large amounts of data to maximize the signal quality.


Evidence on the effectiveness of sepsis screening tools on patient outcomes is mixed. Some studies show improved clinical outcomes (time to antibiotics, length of stay, mortality), with others showing no significant changes in the length of stay or mortality.

Consider two recently published studies outlined in the table below.


The major difference in these two studies is not the tool, but how the clinical action downstream is critical to a positive outcome. The screening tool does not exist in a vacuum.


  • A sepsis screening tool is best used as a tool to facilitate a timely intervention and consistent program.
  • SUCCESS FACTOR #1: Early identification must be paired with effective interventions.
    o Screening tools should be embedded within clinical delivery systems
    o Workflows should be consistently applied
  • SUCCESS FACTOR #2: Sepsis screening tool must provide actionable information on a real change in the patient’s condition requiring action.
  • SUCCESS FACTOR #3: Continuous feedback to achieve sustainable results

Contact me to learn more about the 3 success factors outlined above.

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Erkan Hassan is the Co-Founder & Chief Clinical Officer of Sepsis Program Optimization where he designs & oversees the implementation of solutions to optimize sepsis programs.

To discuss your organization’s Barriers of Effective Sepsis Care, contact Erkan by phone (844) 4SEPSIS (844-473-7747), email (erkan@spo.icu), or video chat.