Weigh In Social Factors Along with Clinical Conditions When Predicting Sepsis Risks

Weigh In Social Factors Along with Clinical Conditions When Predicting Sepsis Risks. A scan of a patient's chest showing inflamed lungs with a close up image of a bacterial infection.

It’s no secret that social factors influencing health can lead to higher readmission rates and poorer outcomes. But a new study indicates that these social factors when built into sepsis readmission models can help predict which patients are at risk of an unplanned readmission within 30 days.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California San Diego, highlights the importance of identifying which patients may benefit from additional resources around the time of discharge or post-discharge, to prevent readmissions within 30 days.

The report also underscores the importance of considering social factors of health alongside clinical conditions when developing predictive analytics for patients most likely to be readmitted for sepsis.

The research team used a data set and patient-level survey information from the National Institutes of Health All of Us program for the study. These data included information from more than 265,000 individuals from 35 hospitals.

Identifying which patients are most at risk is no simple task. Many hospitals use risk models and scores not specifically designed for sepsis patients to identify those most likely to be readmitted, the researchers explain.

In this study, however, researchers identified potentially actionable factors such as poor transportation to access care, lack of insurance or money to pay for care that are associated with 30-day readmissions. The study also identified other factors that may contribute to higher 30-day sepsis readmissions, including:

  • Being male.
  • Identifying as Black or Asian.
  • Experiencing housing instability.
  • Having a high school diploma, GED or less.

Future studies will be needed to prospectively validate the research findings and further explore the relationship among social factors influencing health, readmissions and patient-centered outcomes, the researchers said.

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