Introduction of an emergency medicine pharmacist-led sepsis alert response system in the emergency department: A cohort study

Cristina Petronela Roman, Michael Dooley, Alexandra Nevill, Matthew Szmidel, Steven McGloughlin, Carl Luckhoff, Biswadev Mitra

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine effects of implementing a sepsis alert response system in the ED that included early intervention by emergency medicine (EM) pharmacists. Methods: A prospective cohort (8 February 2016 to 28 February 2018) of patients after implementation of a sepsis alert response system in an Australian ED was compared to a retrospective cohort (3 January 2015 to 7 February 2016) of patients with sepsis who presented during EM pharmacist working hours and were admitted to the ICU. Results: There were 184 patients, including 80 patients pre- and 104 patients post-implementation. The post-intervention cohort was triaged at a higher acuity, had higher quick Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) scores and higher initial lactate measurements. After the intervention, antimicrobial agents were administered to patients within 60 min of presentation more often (21 [26.3%] to 85 [81.7%], P < 0.001). After adjusting for presenting triage category, admission lactate and presenting qSOFA scores, this association remained significant (adjusted odds ratio 9.99; 95% confidence interval 4.7–21.3). Significant improvements were observed for proportion of patients who had intravenous fluids initiated within 60 min (47.5% vs 72.1%); proportion of patients who had serum lactate measured within 60 min (50.0% vs 77.9%) and proportion of patients who had blood cultures performed within 60 min (52.5% vs 85.6%). Conclusion: Implementation of a sepsis alert response that included early involvement of the EM pharmacist was associated with improvement in time to antimicrobials and other components of the sepsis bundle. An upfront, multidisciplinary approach to patients presenting to the ED with suspected sepsis should be considered more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-571
Number of pages8
JournalEMA - Emergency Medicine Australasia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • medicines management
  • pharmacists
  • sepsis

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