The Potential Cost and Cost-Effectiveness Impact of Using a Machine Learning Algorithm for Early Detection of Sepsis in Intensive Care Units in Sweden

Ericson O, Hjelmgren J, Sjövall F, Söderberg J, Persson I

Early diagnosis of sepsis has been shown to reduce treatment delays, increase appropriate care, and reduce mortality. The sepsis machine learning algorithm NAVOY® Sepsis, based on variables routinely collected at intensive care units (ICUs), has shown excellent predictive properties. However, the economic consequences of forecasting the onset of sepsis are unknown.

The potential cost and cost-effectiveness impact of a machine learning algorithm forecasting the onset of sepsis was estimated in an ICU setting.

A health economic model has been developed to capture short-term and long-term consequences of sepsis. The model is based on findings from a randomized, prospective clinical evaluation of NAVOY® Sepsis and from literature sources. Modeling the relationship between time from sepsis onset to treatment and prevalence of septic shock and in-hospital mortality were of particular interest. The model base case assumes that the time to treatment coincides with the time to detection and that the algorithm predicts sepsis 3 hours prior to onset. Total costs include the costs of the prediction algorithm, days spent at the ICU and hospital ward, and long-term consequences. Costs are estimated for an average patient admitted to the ICU and for the healthcare system. The reference method is sepsis diagnosis in accordance with clinical practice.

In Sweden, the total cost per patient amounts to €16 436 and €16 512 for the algorithm and current practice arms, respectively, implying a potential cost saving per patient of €76. The largest cost saving is for the ICU stay, which is reduced by 0.16 days per patient (5860 ICU days for the healthcare sector) resulting in a cost saving of €1009 per ICU patient. Stochastic scenario analysis showed that NAVOY® Sepsis was a dominant treatment option in most scenarios and well below an established threshold of €20 000 per quality-adjusted life-year. A 3-hour faster detection implies a reduction in in-hospital mortality, resulting in 356 lives saved per year.

A sepsis prediction algorithm such as NAVOY® Sepsis reduces the cost per ICU patient and will potentially have a substantial cost-saving and life-saving impact for ICU departments and the healthcare system.

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Journal of Health Economics and Outcomes Research 2022;9(1):101-110
DOI: 10.36469/jheor.2022.33951