Physicians, nurses and caregivers in California have begun receiving training on treating the blood infection sepsis as part of a three-year, $6 million statewide program to improve patient safety and cut health care costs, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Sepsis affects about 750,000 people in the U.S. annually and is the leading cause of death in hospitals.
Sepsis treatment costs an estimated $17 billion annually, and the average cost of treating the condition is $50,000.
The likelihood of death following initial diagnosis of sepsis is about 20%, and the window for administering effective treatment is short.
The sepsis training program is funded by Anthem Blue Cross.
Hospital associations handle the logistics of the training program. Trainees learn through online instruction and hands-on training with a mannequin.
Scott Seamons -- regional vice president for the Hospital Council of Northern and Central California -- said the program will teach physicians and nurses how to recognize early signs of sepsis.
Seamons said he expects the training will help save lives.
Other Efforts To Combat Sepsis
In 2007, Catholic Healthcare West launched a sepsis initiative that concentrated on early identification of patients with severe sepsis, aggressive treatment and a team-based approach to care. The program saved 991 lives and slashed costs by more than $36.2 million, according to officials.
In 2008, Kaiser Permanente unveiled a program to identify patients at risk for sepsis, including the elderly, the very young and those with pre-existing medical conditions. The Kaiser initiative reduced mortality rates by more than 40%.
In addition, UC-Davis Medical Center launched a program last month linking its electronic health record system to national standards for sepsis treatment. The program sends automatic alerts to medical personnel if a patient is at risk for sepsis (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 7/29).