Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements

Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements are essential to optimize patient care and help clinicians, hospitals, and health systems in efforts to improve the hospital management and outcomes of sepsis. Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements outline structural and procedural components that are associated with the multidisciplinary expertise required to support the care of patients with sepsis.

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Summary of Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements

The development of a multi-disciplinary hospital sepsis program is critical to monitoring and improving the management and outcomes of patients with sepsis. Hospital quality improvement programs focused on sepsis have been associated with reductions in hospital mortality, length of stay, and healthcare costs.37-39

The structure of hospital sepsis programs may be specific to a single hospital or span an entire healthcare system. Likewise, programs may focus on sepsis specifically or may be part of a broader initiative that addresses multiple areas of quality improvement. Regardless of the structure of the hospital sepsis program, it should help healthcare staff improve outcomes from sepsis by aiding in the recognition of sepsis, facilitating the implementation of evidence-based management of sepsis, supporting the recovery of patients after sepsis, and monitoring the impact of hospital-based interventions to improve care and outcomes of sepsis.

The Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements include:

Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements Overview Graphic Thumb Image - Decorative
  • Hospital Leadership Commitment: Dedicating the necessary human, financial, and information technology resources.
  • Accountability: Appointing a leader or co-leaders responsible for program goals and outcomes.
  • Multi-professional expertise: Engaging key partners throughout the hospital and healthcare system.
  • Action: Implementing structures and processes to improve the identification of management of, and recovery from sepsis.
  • Tracking: Measuring sepsis epidemiology, management, and outcomes to assess the impact of sepsis initiatives and progress toward program goals.
  • Reporting: Providing information on sepsis management and outcomes to relevant partners.
  • Education: Providing sepsis education to healthcare professionals, patients, and family/caregivers.

For each Core Element, “Priority Examples” are provided as the top priorities for hospital sepsis programs, and “Additional Examples” are additional important recommendations that can further enhance these programs.

For programs that are new or are reorganizing, the “Getting Started” box may be helpful for prioritizing initial activities.

Getting Started

For hospitals or healthcare systems just starting a sepsis program or those with limited resources, it may
be most efficient to address the following steps first:

  • Identify the sepsis program leader or co-leaders
  • Secure support from hospital or healthcare system leadership
  • Conduct a needs analysis to identify applicable regulatory or reporting requirements (e.g., Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services [CMS] Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock: Management Bundle [SEP-1]), existing sepsis screening processes, treatment guidelines, and order sets. Obtain summary data on regulatory performance and use of sepsis screening tools and order sets to identify areas in need of improvement.
  • Establish initial goals for sepsis program based on needs analysis.
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