To determine and identify whether patients are at risk for sepsis, healthcare physicians and medical coders must have an efficient way of communicating all patient documentation and treatments to one another. Medical coding plays a crucial role in your healthcare facility’s revenue cycle. Your coding must be accurate, efficient, and secure to maintain healthy revenue and compliance. ECLAT Health Solutions provides medical coding services for hospitals, physician offices, Independent Practice Associations, and a variety of other healthcare providers.
In our most recent Webinar Roundup: Sepsis: A Clinical Overview, we discussed how to identify and recognize the signs of sepsis. This helped listeners explore sepsis’ clinical indicators and the many ways medical coders can increase accuracy to identify it.
The Clinical Perspective: What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition in which the body is fighting a severe infection that has spread via the bloodstream. This condition can develop either as a result of the body's own defense system or from toxic substances made by the infecting agent. Survival rates for sepsis depend on the patient's underlying medical conditions, how quickly the diagnosis is made, the organism that causes the infection, and the patient's age. The number of people dying from sepsis has increased in the past 20 years.
- Every 20 seconds, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with sepsis - totaling more than 1.7 million cases annually.
- 270,000 people die from sepsis every year in the U.S.- more than from breast cancer, prostate cancer, and AIDS combined.
- Mortality increases by as much as 8% for every hour that sepsis treatment is delayed- rapid diagnosis and treatment could prevent up to 80% of sepsis deaths.
The Medical Coding Perspective: How Is Sepsis Identified?
Under 1992 and 2003 sepsis guidelines, sepsis was defined as systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) due to infection; and SIRS was defined as the presence of more than 2 of 4 findings:
- Body temperature >38.0 °C or <36.0 °C
- Heart Rate > 90 beats/min
- Tachypnea > 20 breaths/min or hyperventilation with PaCO2 < 32 mm Hg
- White blood cell (WBC) count > 12,000 cells/mm3 or <4,000 cells/mm3
This definition is still used in many hospitals around the country, it’s the one that most clearly aligns with official coding guidelines. However, it is not the most current recommended definition.
In 2016, the Third International Consensus Definition for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis-3) redefined sepsis and the ways in which it is identified:
- Sepsis is defined as life-threatening organ dysfunction due to dysregulated host response to infection
- Septic shock is a subset of sepsis in which the underlying circulatory and cellular/ metabolic abnormalities are profound enough to substantially increase mortality
- Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) Score, each system is scored on a scale of 0 to 4. An increase of >or equal to 2 in the SOFA score from the baseline is suggestive of sepsis. The baseline score is assumed to be 0 in patients with no known organ dysfunctions.
Affects Major Organs
Each person has a unique presentation of sepsis, symptoms should be carefully documented and reviewed to gain a full picture of the patient’s illness.
Signs of sepsis are displayed in your:
- Central nervous system
- Cardiovascular system
For more information on this topic check out the Webinar Replay and Handout Here.
ECLAT Health Solutions: Quality Medical Coding Services
At ECLAT Health Solutions, we provide quality medical coding services on a global scale and it is our mission to increase accuracy to promote a better patient experience. All our coders are AHIMA and/or AAPC certified. Quality and security are our number one priority, and we always work to maintain compliance. Also, we offer 24-hour turnaround time and code while you sleep to give your facility the accurate coding it needs quickly. We understand the importance of ongoing education for sustained quality. That is why every quarter, ECLAT Health Solutions provides valuable educational content to our subscribers through our free educational webinar series – ‘Experience The Brilliance’.
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