Sepsis is a serious systemic condition usually caused by infections that can quickly lead to circulatory shock, organ failure and death if not quickly recognized and treated. Certain infections lead to sepsis more than others, such as infections of the lungs (e.g., pneumonia), urinary tract (e.g., kidney), skin, and gut. Also, certain germs such as Staphylococcus aureus (staph), Escherichia coli (E. coli), and some types of Streptococcus (strep) cause sepsis more than other bacteria.
Anyone can develop sepsis from an infection, but it occurs most often in people aged 65 years or older or children less than 1 year of age, in people who have weakened immune systems, or have chronic medical conditions, for example diabetes.
A recent CDC data shows that more than 90% of adults and 70% of children who developed sepsis had a health condition that may have put them at risk. Sepsis is also a serious problem in hospitals throughout the US and the world, although CDC facts show that sepsis begins outside of the hospital for nearly 80% of patients.
Sepsis kills over 200,000 people in the US every year, more than prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined. This large toll happens mainly due to late recognition and treatment, because there is no single sign or symptom of sepsis. It is, rather, a combination of symptoms, including infection signs (diarrhea, sore throat, vomiting), fever, shivering, pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, clammy or sweaty skin, high heart rate, and confusion or disorientation.
Many of these symptoms and signs could be present in other conditions, making sepsis hard to diagnose in its early stage. If sepsis isn't quickly recognized and treated, it puts the patient's life at risk. That's why time matters to patients and healthcare providers, who are the critical link to preventing, recognizing, and treating sepsis.
Having good and up-to-date guidelines and recommendations for recognition and treatment of sepsis at the earliest possible point is very important.
The developers at Escavo developed Sepsis Clinical Guide app for all healthcare professionals who treat critically ill patients, with the aim of providing evidence-based clinical information and tools used in the diagnosis and management of sepsis and septic shock.
The app opens to a home screen that features several categories, including Overview, Diagnosis, Management, Pediatric Sepsis, Drugs, Calculators, Resources and References. The upper portion of the screen is reserved for other sections of this app, including Search, Bookmarks, Notes, News (Notifications), and More that contains general information about the app and its developers.
What first caught my eye was a bit flat and outdated design of the home screen. I thought that's not a big deal as long as the information provided in this app was up-to-date, accurate and comprehensive.
But, I was wrong. Sometimes the design and the interface are very important for the user experience, despite the amount of content and its value.
While Sepsis Clinical Guide app contains amazing information, it is really poorly designed. In fact, it's one of the worst medical apps regarding design and UX I've ever encountered. At least on Android, I've used for this review.
If you try to tap on any category on the home screen, you'd see what I'm talking about. Icons are almost unresponsive to touch and very slow to open.
Once you manage to open the category, you'd see that each contains multiple topics covering important facts and information regarding sepsis.
For example, Overview contains key points in sepsis management, stats, info about general risk factors, and pathophysiology. Diagnosis section provides exhaustive information about different diagnostic criteria, causes, DDx, labs, clinical scores. Management category helps with recommendations on how to successfully treat sepsis, Pediatric Sepsis emphasizes treatment of sepsis in neonates and children, Drugs provides medication guidance with the list of most common used drugs, etc.
Tapping on topics in these lists opens either another list of subtopics, or the page with related content. Content is mostly presented in a bulleted-format. Also, all text within the topics is pixelated and very hard to read. I'm not sure if the developers decided to break design rules by using the images of small-sized text instead of actual text in their code, but this doesn't look good.
Also, the content isn't mobile-friendly and expands way beyond the screen, so you need to swipe right or left in order to read the information. Tables also aren't formatted well, so you can't see the whole content on the screen. Rotating your phone horizontally doesn't help, because it doesn't work.
Search will take you to the empty page with just search filed on it, which is another example of bad UI.
The upside of Sepsis Clinical Guide app is really outstanding content covering almost every aspect of complex sepsis management, from prevention, detection, to treatment.
The information provided within the topics is concise; it gives you exact recommendations, which is very important for healthcare providers, who often don't have time to read through the exhaustive materials at the bedside.
Most of the topics include useful tabs located at the bottom of the screen that provides users with additional information about the related medications (Rx), footnotes (f), and references used (R).
The app allows users to bookmark topics, or to add notes, which can be accessed later.
Also, Sepsis Clinical Guide app provides several calculators, from sepsis assessment, SAPS II, SOFA, MOD, or CPI scores, to Glasgow Coma Scale. Despite the design issues (i.e. you need to swipe to the right in order to see the whole page, or to add values), these calculators are extremely important to providers, helping them make complex decisions regarding sepsis diagnosis and management.
As a conclusion, although Sepsis Clinical Guide is plagued with bad design and UX, it is still a definite guide on sepsis diagnosis and treatment.
Benefit: Healthcare professionals, ranging from physicians to medical students, in need of concise and evidence-based sepsis management information, should have this app installed.