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    [BLOG]: Sepsis: 4 things formulary managers can do to save lives, resources

    Mike AbramsAbramsEveryone is a potential victim of the dangerous condition known as sepsis, which kills more than 258,000 Americans each year. That is more than the number of people who die annually from breast, lung, and prostate cancer combined, making it one of the most common causes of death in the United States. The Sepsis Alliance defines the condition as the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.

    What is especially troubling is that sepsis can affect anyone no matter their age, gender, or ethnicity. And it can be caused by any source of infection from a simple bug bite, to a more severe source such as pneumonia. The symptoms of sepsis are common to many other mild illnesses, which makes it difficult to diagnose. In addition, 40% of patients diagnosed with severe sepsis do not survive. For the thousands who do, they are left with post-sepsis syndrome that can result in mild to severe physical and/or mental disability.

    Not only does sepsis cost lives, but the cost to treat patients for the condition in 2011 was $20.3 billion, according to the National Institutes of Health. Each sepsis case costs hospitals between $22,000 and $57,700. This makes sepsis the single most expensive condition treated in US hospitals.

    Related: Sepsis patients return to hospital for preventable reasons

    For all of these reasons, healthcare professionals must work together to combat this condition. The Ohio Hospital Association (OHA), along with Ohio’s 220 member hospitals, is leading the charge to reduce sepsis-related mortality by 30% in the state. In 2015, OHA created the Institute for Health Innovation (Institute) to develop and implement strategies focused in the areas of accelerating healthcare quality, integrating transitions of patient care, and advancing community health. One of the primary focus areas of the Institute is to reduce sepsis.

    OHA is partnering with the Sepsis Alliance and James O'Brien, MD, MS, serves as a physician champion the Statewide Sepsis Initiative. Dr O’Brien is the vice president of Quality and Patient Safety at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital and is a founder and chair of the Board of Directors of the Sepsis Alliance nationally.

    The OHA formed a clinical advisory team with experts, like O’Brien, to address how to meet the goal of reducing sepsis by 30% in the state. The goal will be achieve using the following methods:

    • Collaboration with clinical leadership at member hospitals for at least 2 years;
    • Performance of hospital-specific gap analysis;
    • Formation of meaningful hospital-specific action plans;
    • Emphasis on early recognition and intervention;
    • Collection and submission of data on adherence to a 3-hour bundle;
    • Leveraging current submitted data and diagnostic codes for severe sepsis and septic shock;
    • Providing pertinent professional continuing education;
    • Facilitating coaching calls; and
    • Establishing online tools and resources.


    NEXT: 4 things formulary managers can do to reduce sepsis


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