Process improvements in the ED increase sepsis bundle compliance, reduce mortality

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

February 18, 2015

Effectively treating any infection requires a certain measure of early identification and rapid response. Infections, by their nature, worsen over time, so hospitals with successful care processes that rapidly identify and treat infections often see the most success.

Identifying and appropriately treating a patient with sepsis, however, takes that response to a whole new level. Research shows that early identification and treatment of sepsis significantly reduces mortality. In a 2011 presentation at the Society of Critical Care Medicine 40th Critical Care Congress, researchers showed an 88% increase in mortality in patients who received antibiotics six hours after arrival, compared with those who received antibiotics within two hours.

Furthermore, sepsis has become more prevalent in healthcare over the past decade. According to statistics released by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2011, hospitalization rates for septicemia or sepsis more than doubled from 2000 to 2008. Seventeen percent of hospitalizations related to sepsis ended in death, compared to 2% of all other hospitalizations. In 2011, sepsis was identified as the most expensive condition treated in hospitals.

But some hospitals are finding that focusing on the lean principles of process improvement offer the most effective way to quickly implement sepsis treatment. In December, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire announced that it has reduced patient mortality by more than 50% by achieving 80% compliance with the three-hour sepsis bundle, and they did it within 90 days.

This is an excerpt from an article in Patient Safety Monitor Journal.

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