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A National Effort to Prevent Sepsis

September 14, 2023

The federal government is launching a national hospital effort to identify sepsis and save lives.

Announced last month, the Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements initiative seeks to “help hospitals implement, monitor, and optimize sepsis programs and improve survival rates.” Early identification of the condition is key to prevent tissue and organ damage, and other severe outcomes, federal officials said. The program outlines the key components of hospital sepsis programs.

“Rapid diagnosis and immediate appropriate treatment, including antibiotics, are essential to saving lives, yet the challenges of awareness about and recognition of sepsis are enormous,” CDC Director Mandy Cohen, MD, MPH, said in a statement. “That’s why CDC is calling on all U.S. hospitals to have a sepsis program and raise the bar on sepsis care by incorporating these seven core elements.”

Among the key takeaways:

  • What is sepsis:  The condition is the body’s extreme inflammatory response to an infection and is a life-threatening medical emergency. It affects 1.7 million Americans per year, according to the CDC.
  • Core elements:  The CDC identifies the seven core elements of hospital sepsis programs as leadership commitment, accountability, multi-professional expertise, action, tracking, reporting, and education. The sepsis initiative is modeled after the CDC’s Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship.
  • Getting started:  Identifying program leaders, securing support from leadership, analysis of regulatory and reporting requirements, and establishing goals are key steps to get started with a hospital sepsis program.
  • National perspective:  A CDC survey of 5,221 hospitals found that 73 percent report having sepsis teams.
  • Quotable:  “CDC’s Hospital Sepsis Program Core Elements are a guide for structuring sepsis programs that put your (health care) providers in the best position to rapidly identify and provide effective care for all types of patients with sepsis,” said Raymund Dantes, MD, MPH, CDC medical advisor.

HAP’s quality team continues to support hospitals in their efforts to prevent and treat sepsis in their communities. Learn more about sepsis online.

Additional information about the program is available online.