Implementing a collaborative protocol in a sepsis intervention program: lessons learned

Brian Casserly, Michael Baram, Patricia Walsh, Andrew Sucov, Nicholas S Ward, Mitchell M Levy
Lung 2011, 189 (1): 11-9
The objective of this prospective cohort study was to see the effect of the implementation of a Sepsis Intervention Program on the standard processes of patient care using a collaborative approach between the Emergency Department (ED) and Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU). This was performed in a large urban tertiary-care hospital, with no previous experience utilizing a specific intervention program as routine care for septic shock and which has services and resources commonly available in most hospitals. The study included 106 patients who presented to the ED with severe sepsis or septic shock. Eighty-seven of those patients met the inclusion criteria for complete data analysis. The ED and MICU staff underwent a 3-month training period followed by implementation of a protocol for sepsis intervention program over 6 months. In the first 6 months of the program's implementation, 106 patients were admitted to the ED with severe sepsis and septic shock. During this time, the ED attempted to initiate the sepsis intervention protocol in 76% of the 87 septic patients who met the inclusion criteria. This was assessed by documentation of a central venous catheter insertion for continuous SvO(2) monitoring in a patient with sepsis or septic shock. However, only 48% of the eligible patients completed the early goal-directed therapy (EGDT) protocol. Our data showed that the in-hospital mortality rate was 30.5% for the 87 septic shock patients with a mean APACHE II score of 29. This was very similar to a landmark study of EGDT (30.5% mortality with mean APACHE II of 21.5). Data collected on processes of care showed improvements in time to fluid administration, central venous access insertion, antibiotic administration, vasopressor administration, and time to MICU transfer from ED arrival in our patients enrolled in the protocol versus those who were not. Further review of our performance data showed that processes of care improved steadily the longer the protocol was in effect, although this was not statistically significant. There was no improvement in secondary outcomes, including total length of hospital stay, MICU days, and mortality. Implementation of a sepsis intervention program as a standard of care in a typical hospital protocol leads to improvements in processes of care. However, despite a collaborative approach, the sepsis intervention program was underutilized with only 48% of the patients completing the sepsis intervention protocol.

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