Ridgeview recognized for reducing sepsis mortality

As a recognized leader for reducing sepsis* mortality, Ridgeview is participating in a national initiative to improve care and patient outcomes from severe sepsis/septic shock. Sepsis is a lethal and costly disease; if not diagnosed early, the risk of death is very high. Nationally, the mortality of patients with advanced stages of sepsis is 40 to 50 percent.

Ridgeview’s mortality rate was 39 percent in 2007. By implementing sepsis-specific processes and “bundles of care,” Ridgeview’s rate decreased to 26 percent in 2013 and to 24 percent in 2014.

Each year about 750,000 cases of severe sepsis are identified in the United States. Of those, 28 to 50 percent die — far more than the number of deaths from prostate cancer, breast cancer and AIDS combined, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Saving lives with early intervention

In 2012, a 12-year-old boy in New York died of septic shock, caused by an infection that had likely developed after a minor cut brought him to the emergency room; he was sent home undiagnosed and died three days later, prompting New York state to mandate the implementation of sepsis protocols in every acute care hospital in New York. The protocols include aggressive procedures for identifying sepsis in patients and the use of a countdown clock to begin treatment within an hour of diagnosis.

Working with the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA), Ridgeview and two other mentor hospitals have developed a comprehensive package of surviving sepsis “best practices” tools for state caregivers. These tools and processes of care have been proven to improve care, reduce mortality and decrease costs. With the high mortality associated with sepsis, Minnesota hospitals are being educated to recognize the same level of urgency in caring for septic patients as those with trauma, heart attack or stroke, and are being strongly encouraged to adapt the comprehensive package of best practice tools.

MHA, St. Cloud Hospital and Ridgeview collaborated in the production of a video designed to educate health care teams across the state about sepsis and best practice sepsis care. The video highlights the work of both hospitals, and includes footage from Two Twelve Medical Center (including interviews with David Larson, MD, Emergency physician, and staff from Ridgeview’s Emergency and Urgent Care, Lab and Respiratory Care departments) and St. Cloud Hospital. The video is available at www.mnhospitals.org/seeingsepsis#educationvideo.

*Severe sepsis is the rapid onset of organ dysfunction caused by an overwhelming immune response to infection. Septic shock is a form of severe sepsis accompanied by a life-threatening decrease in blood pressure.