Institutional Structures and Processes to Support Sepsis Care: A Multihospital Study

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Crit Care Explor


OBJECTIVES: To identify opportunities for improving hospital-based sepsis care and to inform an ongoing statewide quality improvement initiative in Michigan.

DESIGN: Surveys on hospital sepsis processes, including a self-assessment of practices using a 3-point Likert scale, were administered to 51 hospitals participating in the Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Consortium, a Collaborative Quality Initiative sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, at two time points (2020, 2022). Forty-eight hospitals also submitted sepsis protocols for structured review.

SETTING: Multicenter quality improvement consortium.

SUBJECTS: Fifty-one hospitals in Michigan.


MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Of the included hospitals, 92.2% (n = 47/51) were nonprofit, 88.2% (n = 45/51) urban, 11.8% (n = 6/51) rural, and 80.4% (n = 41/51) teaching hospitals. One hundred percent (n = 51/51) responded to the survey, and 94.1% (n = 48/51) provided a sepsis policy/protocol. All surveyed hospitals used at least one quality improvement approach, including audit/feedback (98.0%, n = 50/51) and/or clinician education (68.6%, n = 35/51). Protocols included the Sepsis-1 (18.8%, n = 9/48) or Sepsis-2 (31.3%, n = 15/48) definitions; none (n = 0/48) used Sepsis-3. All hospitals (n = 51/51) used at least one process to facilitate rapid sepsis treatment, including order sets (96.1%, n = 49/51) and/or stocking of commonly used antibiotics in at least one clinical setting (92.2%, n = 47/51). Treatment protocols included guidance on antimicrobial therapy (68.8%, n = 33/48), fluid resuscitation (70.8%, n = 34/48), and vasopressor administration (62.5%, n = 30/48). On self-assessment, hospitals reported the lowest scores for peridischarge practices, including screening for cognitive impairment (2.0%, n = 1/51 responded "we are good at this") and providing anticipatory guidance (3.9%, n = 2/51). There were no meaningful associations of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Severe Sepsis and Septic Shock: Management Bundle performance with differences in hospital characteristics or sepsis policy document characteristics.

CONCLUSIONS: Most hospitals used audit/feedback, order sets, and clinician education to facilitate sepsis care. Hospitals did not consistently incorporate organ dysfunction criteria into sepsis definitions. Existing processes focused on early recognition and treatment rather than recovery-based practices.

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