ABOUT THE UMMS SEPSIS PROGRAM
RESEARCH & REFERENCE MATERIAL
What is sepsis?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines sepsis as the body’s extreme response to an infection. It is a life-threatening medical emergency that happens when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. More specific definitions of this condition vary. At UMMS, we are embarking on the difficult—and critical—path of a consistent definition and treatment that will ultimately help us save more lives of patients in our hospitals.
Why are we standardizing our diagnosis and intervention for sepsis?
Despite the significant contribution that sepsis has on morbidity, mortality, and critical care resource utilization, there is notable variation in the diagnosis of sepsis across UMMS—a two-fold difference in diagnosis rate ranging across our hospitals. This rate of sepsis diagnosis varies provider-to-provider, department-to department, and hospital-to-hospital. Standardization of diagnostic criteria is further complicated by the varying criteria used for core measures, the MHAC program, and other quality metrics and reporting requirements around sepsis.
A shared definition of sepsis will enable us to obtain a deep understanding of the impact of our current sepsis processes and programs throughout UMMS. This understanding will inform the next steps in getting the most effective sepsis care to each of our patients at the most appropriate time.
Is sepsis a concern at UMMS more than other hospitals?
No. Sepsis is a concern at all health care facilities across the country. More than 1.5 million people get sepsis each year in the United States; UMMS hospitals treat about 10,000 patients each year with a primary or secondary diagnosis of sepsis. Through this program, UMMS is working to reduce the number of patients who die from sepsis.
How will this work affect clinical team members?
Team members who interact with patients, including nurses, pharmacists, lab technicians and others, will be most affected by changes in our sepsis identification and response. As the program develops, UMMS will provide education and training on all aspects of the new process.
How will this work affect non-clinical team members?
Team members in areas of information technology, CMI coding and quality measurement will also play an integral role in this program as we refine the processes by which we define and record sepsis diagnosis and results in service to our mission of improving patient safety.
How are we measuring this program’s success?
A rigorous approach to data will inform all decisions made by the Sepsis Program committees and all metrics established to measure our progress. These will be shared as they are developed.
Who is involved in the Sepsis Program?
This effort is truly a System-wide, interdisciplinary, coordinated One UMMS effort. Our work groups and committees are comprised of leaders and team members from each member organization and representing diverse stages of care. Member organizations will continue their own process improvement as we simultaneously create a One UMMS approach.