Keck Medicine of USC is taking a collaborative approach to diagnose and treat sepsis.

Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection, which can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. Sepsis kills about 258,000 Americans each year and is the leading cause of death in U.S. hospitals, according to data published by the Sepsis Alliance.

The chances of a patient surviving sepsis can double with early recognition and treatment. Early detection and prompt intervention is key in creating positive patient outcomes.

An interdisciplinary team representing the three hospitals of Keck Medicine, including nurses, physicians, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, laboratory, quality, IT professionals and administrators, have come together to develop the Keck sepsis screening and early management policy.

The sepsis team is considered the first system-wide quality and patient safety initiative for Keck Medicine.

“Sepsis is a widespread problem at health care facilities across the U.S.,” said Stephanie L. Hall, MD, MHA, chief medical officer of Keck Medicine and associate dean of clinical affairs, Keck School of Medicine of USC. “This dedicated interdisciplinary team will help ensure we can rapidly respond and intervene to improve patient outcomes.”

The interdisciplinary team has crafted processes that were written to ensure exceptional care to our patients while following federal (CMS) guidelines mandating that sepsis measures be implemented at health care institutions across the U.S.

Beginning in April, code sepsis teams will respond to patients who develop severe sepsis.

— Douglas Morino