Sepsis contributes to up to half of all deaths in hospitalized patients, and early interventions, such as appropriate antibiotics, have been shown to improve outcomes. Most research has focused on early identification and treatment of septic patients in the emergency department and the intensive care unit; however, many patients develop sepsis on the general wards. The goal of this review is to discuss recent advances in sepsis detection in patients on the hospital wards. It will discuss data highlighting the benefits and limitations of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria for screening septic patients, such as its low specificity, as well as newly described scoring systems, including the proposed role of the quick Sepsis-related Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) score. Challenges specific to detecting sepsis on the wards will be discussed, and future directions that utilize big data approaches and automated alert systems will be highlighted.