Billings Clinic is one of five hospitals around the nation participating in a cutting edge research network. They are collecting information to try to predict ahead of time, whether a patient will get sick.
The research involves a device that identifies characteristics of patients' heart rate and respiratory rate. A similar device has been used in neonatal intensive care units and has shown to be effective in detecting an illness early on.
"We try to collect data on those patients to see who does well and who deteriorates to see if we can use this then in the future to predict ahead of time who is going to deteriorate so we can intervene earlier on those patients," says Randy Thompson, a Billings Clinic Emergency Physician.
The research at Billings Clinic is being conducted on 21 patients and focuses on those with Sepsis, which is the body's toxic response to infection. It's a costly medical condition with a high mortality rate. Physicians hope the variables collected in this research will successfully be able to predict that a person is in the process of getting sick, so physicians can intervene early enough to treat them appropriately.