IHA case studies

Early Identification and Treatment of Sepsis through Initiation of Response Team in the Emergency Department (ED CODE SEPSIS)


According to the 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics National Hospital Discharge Survey, patients hospitalized for septicemia or sepsis had a 17 percent mortality rate. As part of the organization’s aim to reduce unnecessary clinical practice variation and drive predictable and consistent patient outcomes, it analyzed clinical and financial data on the system’s sepsis population. The analysis showed that patients discharged as sepsis primarily came through the emergency department (ED) and had sepsis present on arrival. The analysis also showed clinical practice variation.

A team of nurses, physicians, phlebotomists and pharmacists gathered for a change event to design the ED Code Sepsis program to improve early identification and treatment of sepsis in the ED. Within three months, ED Code Sepsis was implemented in all four EDs and included multisite daily huddle calls to review each patient and identify continuous improvement opportunities.

By the end of the first quarter of 2015, the clinical and operational results showed improvements in observed-to-expected ratios for mortality and a reduction in both length of stay and cost. As a result, the cost to treat sepsis patients decreased by more than $1 million annually.

This case study is part of the Illinois Health and Hospital Association's annual Quality Excellence Achievement Awards. Each year, IHA recognizes and celebrates the achievements of Illinois hospitals and health systems in continually improving and transforming health care in the state. These organizations are improving health by striving to achieve the Triple Aim—improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction), improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of health care—and the Institute of Medicine’s six aims for improvement—safe, effective, patient centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. To learn more, visit https://www.ihaqualityawards.org/javascript-ui/IHAQualityAward/

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