Taking the Lead on Reducing Sepsis

Although sepsis is on the rise in the United States, striking an estimated 750,000 Americans annually, The Mount Sinai Hospital has begun implementing successful new procedures to combat it. Under the guidance of Charles Powell, MD, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Mount Sinai initiated an inpatient pilot program in May 2012 called Stop Sepsis to reduce mortalities on several inpatient floors and in the Emergency Department.

This sepsis reduction program uses a clinician decision support model that involves data-driven, multidisciplinary protocols to quickly identify and treat cases of sepsis. As part of the program, nurses received additional EPIC and clinical training to recognize warning signs and to call the Stop Sepsis Team (a group of specially trained nurse practitioners) if they feel a patient is at risk. A team member promptly responds to evaluate the patient, order tests, such as blood cultures and additional blood work, and initiate the indicated treatment.

Positive Outcomes

The results of the pilot program were overwhelmingly positive. The sepsis mortality rate fell by 40 percent, which contributed to a decrease in Mount Sinai's overall sepsis mortality rate to 19 percent.

Due to that success, Mount Sinai will be expanding these sepsis reduction procedures into a hospital-wide program starting January 1, 2014. Preparations for the implementation include special training for all providers, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and laboratory staff and activating decision support tools in the electronic medical records system.

"The success of the program is attributed to the change in culture driven by strengthened collaboration between physicians and nurses and by the development of these novel clinical decision support tools," Dr. Powell says. This groundbreaking effort will continue our strategies for improving quality and saving lives, and is expected to serve as a model for reducing sepsis nationwide.

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