First few Article Sentences
Sepsis can be a killer. When Kaiser Permanente looked at their mortality rates back in Spring 2008, they saw a higher average than the national Medicare average as well as Southern California averages. “We immediately did a drill down to understand what was behind the numbers,” said Barbara Crawford, vice president for quality and regulatory services. “We looked at the last 50 deaths in every northern California Kaiser facility, then looked at the mortality diagnostic.” The results – infection, specifically sepsis, was the overwhelming majority of mortality – kicked off an intense undertaking.
The interesting part was, the further down the team drilled for answers, the more they discovered that most patients had sepsis when they came into the hospital. “We simply weren’t good at diagnosing those cases when they came in,” she said. There are over 200,000 deaths per year in the U.S. due to sepsis, which makes it a significant issue for all hospitals. Septic shock, the most severe form of sepsis, carries a 45% mortality rate, but if sepsis is caught at its earliest, that rate decreases to 16%. Infection prevention measures in the hospital would make a difference, as well, but diagnosing the infections that patients had when they walked in the door held the greatest potential for improvement.