A Comparative Analysis of Sepsis Identification Methods in an Electronic Database

Alistair E. W. Johnson, DPhil; Jerome Aboab, MD, PhD; Jesse D. Raffa, PhD; Tom J. Pollard, PhD; Rodrigo O. Deliberato, MD, PhD; Leo A. Celi, MD, MPH; David J. Stone, MD


Crit Care Med. 2018;46(4):494-499. 

In This Article


Current identification of sepsis within the United States, outside of individual chart review, frequently relies on proxies such as administrative coding primarily done for billing. The advent of large EHR databases allows for finer grained classification of sepsis using new methods based on patient physiology. Taking advantage of a publicly available EHR, we have demonstrated that administrative and physiology-based approaches result in cohorts of severely ill patients with variable outcome frequencies. Among methods assessed here, the Sepsis-3 criteria identified the largest, healthiest cohort. As more clinical research is performed on routinely collected patient data, it becomes progressively more important to develop standardized criteria that can identify sepsis in a consistent, reliable, and usable manner.