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It was a win-win. Hospitals needed to prevent patient deaths from sepsis, a complication of infection; and Epic, the nation’s largest seller of medical records, needed users for its new product — an algorithm that could predict which patients would develop the condition so doctors could intervene earlier.

Over the last few years, hundreds of hospitals have plugged in the algorithm without verifying its advertised 80% accuracy rate. Then a group of researchers at the University of Michigan started asking questions about its performance.

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