News | Published August 26, 2013

Mount Nittany Medical Center successfully improves sepsis care through completion of voluntary program

Mount Nittany Medical Center successfully participated in Highmark Health Services Hospital Quality BlueSM Pay for Performance Program from June 2012 to June 2013 to improve the process of diagnosing and treating sepsis. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition in which inflammation occurs throughout the body and can lead to organ damage or failure.

“Mount Nittany Medical Center voluntarily took part in the project to support its commitment to making people healthier by prioritizing collaboration, safety, efficiency and quality in patient care,” said Gail A. Miller, RN, MS, CPHQ, vice president for quality, Mount Nittany Health.

Each year, more than one million Americans develop sepsis. The risk of death increases by nearly 7.6 percent with every hour that passes without treatment – making time of essence in diagnosing and treating patients with sepsis.

As part of the project, collaborations among quality, nursing, pharmacy, information services, emergency department, critical care, education, finance, administration, laboratory and infection prevention resulted in a number of initiatives that improved sepsis care, including offering sepsis education sessions (live and recorded) for providers and issuing sepsis awareness tools and electronic medical record prompts to trigger immediate intervention if the patient’s vital signs meet two or more criteria for sepsis.

“The program is designed to drive best practices and challenge facilities to raise the standards for quality and efficiency in patient care delivery,” said, Andrew Bloschichak, MD, senior medical director for Highmark Health Services. “Mount Nittany Medical Center’s efforts over the past year demonstrate a commitment to advancing a culture of quality and patient safety for the patients, families and the communities it serves.”

In recognition of Mount Nittany Medical Center’s efforts, Highmark Health Services has invited Marlene Stetson, infection prevention and control coordinator and a key leader in the sepsis care project, to present at its best practices forum this fall.

Mount Nittany Medical Center’s collaboration with Highmark Health Services and its multidisciplinary teams is one example of how the hospital is following the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s “Triple Aim” initiative. Triple Aim showcases the importance of health systems simultaneously pursuing the three dimensions of “improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction), improving the health of populations and reducing the per capita cost of health care.”

“The project demonstrates our commitment to delivering the best value and evidence-based care to our patients,” said Miller.

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