IHA case studies

Lean Six Sigma Sepsis Initiative Saves 24 Lives and $882,000 Annually in a 500 Bed Tertiary Medical Center


Evidence-based practice supports early goal-directed therapy for patients with sepsis. Improving identification of and intervention methods for septic patients in the emergency department (ED) and inpatient units enhances patient safety, while reducing costs and mortality. By using Lean Six Sigma process improvement methodologies, a 500-bed tertiary care hospital implemented a standardized approach to identifying septic patients and intervening with early goal-directed therapy.

These improvements reduced the mortality rate of patients with sepsis and severe sepsis by 13 percent, expediting treatment delivery, reducing length of stay, decreasing variable costs per case and resulting in 24 lives saved. This new approach to patient care improves treatment and outcomes for patients suffering from a frequently acquired infection, lowers costs and benefits the regional community.

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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