Three Tips to Promote Early Detection and Treatment of Sepsis

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Each year in the U.S., more than one million people contract sepsis, a dangerous infection response process that kills up to half of those who are diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Early detection and treatment of sepsis are key to improving survival rates and reducing the high cost of care.

TMF Health Quality Institute, the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) for Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico and Texas, is working with hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, home health agencies, long-term care facilities and the community to increase awareness of sepsis, so it can be identified and treated in a timely manner.

TMF quality improvement consultants are also helping educate health care professionals on the following steps, which are part of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign, a joint collaboration of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine:

  1. Detect Early. Using a severe sepsis-screening tool, such as the one available from TMF, providers can detect signs of sepsis earlier. When utilizing such tools, providers should be sure they include criteria for organ dysfunction; signs and symptoms of infection, like Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome; and a history of new infections, including a checklist of common sites of infection.
  2. Treat Immediately. Treat sepsis early with sepsis resuscitation bundles, a structured way of improving the processes of care and patient outcomes. According to the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI), when performed collectively and reliably, bundles have been proven to improve patient outcomes. To implement bundles for sepsis, like the Surviving Sepsis Campaign's three- and six-hour procedures, providers should form multidisciplinary teams that work together to design standardized protocols and pathways.
  3. Monitor Reliability and Outcomes. Establish a process for compiling your hospital’s data and results, and ensure all providers are able to understand and record new information. Use these findings to identify gaps in your current sepsis management and begin to test detection and treatment improvements.

The Society of Critical Care Medicine found that providers who implement procedures like those outlined above and in the Surviving Sepsis Campaign have improved patient outcomes and mortality rates.

To learn more about how to detect and treat sepsis early, contact Marlene Kennard, TMF’s quality improvement specialist.