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Sepsis Action Plan Helps Houston Methodist Reduce Related Deaths 580 Percent in 15 Years

Sep. 22, 2023 - Eden McCleskey

In 2008, a Houston Methodist analysis of data showed the No. 1 cause of death within the system was sepsis.

According to an article in Becker's Hospital Review, Houston Methodist wasted no time taking action — creating a scoring system, forming action teams, collecting monthly data, starting a critical-care recovery clinic to follow patients recovering from the condition.

As a result, Houston Methodist has reduced the sepsis death rate from 35 percent to 6 percent. Fifteen years later, leaders estimate the teams' actions have saved almost 2,500 lives and helped save hospital more than $50 million in associated costs. The Global Sepsis Alliance recognized the hospital system for its progress on the condition.

"We're able to engage everybody because we can show our whole hospital staff, 'Hey, your work is making a difference on patients' survival,'" Dr. Faisal Masud, medical director of the Center for Critical Care at Houston Methodist, told Becker's.

Becker's notes that such a level of commitment is far from standard among hospitals. A recent CDC survey of 5,221 U.S. hospitals found more than 20% don't have a committee that reviews sepsis care on a regular basis.

The CDC recently unveiled a new program to enhance such care at all hospitals, a testament to the massive challenge the deadly condition poses to the nation's health care system. About one-third of the nation's hospital deaths are sepsis-related — 350,000 deaths every year — and the condition remains hospitals' No. 1 cause of readmission.

"Everybody can do it," Dr. Masud told Becker's, referencing Houston Methodist's improvements. "It is possible, and it is manageable, but you have to commit to it. That's the only way."

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