Decoding Sepsis: A Clinical Nurse Specialist’s Frontline Perspective

Listen to the full episode here: 


Sepsis it seems is always in the news, never far from anyone who works in CDI or coding circles. And here we are again, back in the headlines due to its inclusion in the Office of Inspector General (OIG) Work Plan. 


Sepsis has been discussed so much due to the complexity of disease, the cost of treatment, complexity of coding, and increased regulatory spotlight. What else is there to say?  But with it back in the spotlight I wanted to turn from the usual insular conversations in the mid-revenue cycle to someone working on the front lines of care. 


Amanda Hart is an ED nurse and a sepsis clinical nurse specialist at Tower Health, a regional integrated healthcare system based out of Pennsylvania. She spends a substantial amount of time battling this deadly disease, and her work has much to offer anyone who works to get it accurately documented and coded. 


On this episode we discuss:


  • Amanda’s background in the military and EMS, path into nursing and eventually the ED


  • Her role as sepsis clinical nurse specialist and how it overlaps with CDI/coding


  • Pathophysiology—clinical indicators of sepsis and what makes it such a deadly disease


  • Problems inherent in lack of uniform definitions, what Tower Health uses, and her own take on Sepsis-2 vs. Sepsis-3 debate


  • The importance of early screening, including processes, technologies and people. Are EHRs and alerts helping or hindering?


  • Tower Health’s home-grown protocol that resulted in a 32% reduction in relative mortality rate in non-POA cases.


  • Life on the front lines of care and how it changed Amanda as a person

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