By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Eastside Medical Center wins statewide patient safety award for infection reduction

Snellville - The Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) presented its prestigious Quality and Patient Safety Award to Eastside Medical Center in Snellville for its project that reduced sepsis mortality rates.

The project, titled “Saving Lives through Timely Recognition and Treatment of Sepsis,” won third place in the highly competitive Josh Nahum Award for Infection Prevention and Control category. These annual awards recognize Georgia healthcare organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes.

“It takes a committed, multidisciplinary, patient-centered team to continually enhance patient safety and the Eastside team is absolutely committed to providing the best care to our patients,” said Denise Flook, vice president of quality and patient safety, Eastside Medical Center. “We are saving patient lives by working together to make it easier for our caregivers at every point of the patient’s care to more quickly identify sepsis and begin treatment when it is most effective.”

Because untimely treatment of sepsis can lead to increased mortality rates, Eastside Medical Center set a goal to more rapidly treat patients with sepsis and severe sepsis. A diagnosis of sepsis occurs when a patient has two or more signs of systematic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and a diagnosis of severe sepsis occurs when there is a failure of one or more organ systems, low blood pressure and diminished blood flow to the heart. Eastside also wanted to increase staff compliance with the three-hour sepsis bundle, which is a series of interventions that, when implemented and completed within three hours from the time a suspected sepsis patient arrives at the hospital, are proven to improve patient outcomes.

To increase early identification of sepsis, the hospital set up routine screening of potentially infected seriously ill patients. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff was trained to notify the emergency room of patients who met the criteria for sepsis prior to their arrival so hospital staff could set treatment in motion. Sepsis screening was built into the electronic medical records (EMR) system and nurses received early sepsis alerts. Staff received education on the bundle and its importance in reducing mortality.

Results showed significant improvement, with compliance of bundle utilization increasing to 95.6 percent. Overall sepsis mortality rates decreased from 36 percent to 20 percent, while severe sepsis mortality rates decreased from 17 percent to 9 percent.

“Treating sepsis the moment it is suspected increases survival rates and is essential to patient safety,” said Georgia Hospital Association Chief Medical Officer Doug Patten, M.D. “We applaud Eastside Medical Center for its dedication to improving sepsis treatment and for its efforts in providing the best and safest care possible to its patients.”