Owner system

Critical care doctor: ‘There is no other system like this in the world’, of electronic pneumonia assistive tool

A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that ePneumonia reduced deaths by 38% and safely reduced intensive care unit admissions. (Heather Simonsen, KSL-TV)

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Pneumonia is the leading cause of death from contagious diseases in the United States. Although common, doctors say it can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Cutting-edge tool saves lives.

Cindy Cook is still recovering from an illness she contracted in January. His doctor immediately knew it was serious.

“Just by the color of my face he could tell I was really sick,” said Cook, 62, who lives in Farmington.

“I could tell he was moving fast, and he said, ‘You need to get to the ER. “”

Cook was septic and his vital organs were shutting down. The doctors decided that her case was serious enough, they airlifted her to Intermountain Medical Center.

In intensive care, Dr. Nathan Dean of Intermountain Healthcare used a clinical decision support tool called ePneumonia to diagnose and treat Cook. He said it was a game-changer in the treatment of pneumonia.

“There is no other system like this in the world,” said Dean, who is the section chief for pulmonary medicine and critical care.

The electronic tool collects a patient’s symptoms and vital signs to help the doctor make a diagnosis.

“Things like fever, if the patient is coughing, if their white blood cell count is high,” Dean said.

Then, it guides physicians in making better decisions about care. For example, if a patient needs to be sent to intensive care, admitted to hospital, or if it is safe to return home.

Dean says this has been vital during the pandemic. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death from COVID-19.

“COVID was really an outbreak of viral pneumonia that we had no immunity to,” he said.

A study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found that ePneumonia reduced deaths by 38% and safely reduced intensive care unit admissions.


COVID was really an epidemic of viral pneumonia to which we had no immunity.

–Dr. Nathan Dean


This also suggests that the tool can be useful in small community hospitals, as well as in large urban centers. Cook said it helped save his life.

“I will be forever grateful to him,” she said of the technology helping her heal.

She is also grateful for the lessons she has learned that have nothing to do with medicine.

“I learned that you have to slow down. There are so many things that are more important.”

Related stories

Heather Simonson

More stories that might interest you