UCHealth selected for sepsis early-detection program to help keep patients safe

UCHealth has launched a performance improvement initiative to help northern Colorado clinicians more easily identify and treat sepsis
February 24th, 2014

Contact: Dave Rizzotto, UCHealth, dave.rizzotto@uchealth.org, 970.237.7105
Debbie Fimple, Medical Simulation Corporation, debbie.fimple@medsimulation.com, 303.483.2905

With sights set on stopping one of the world’s deadliest infections, UCHealth has launched a performance improvement initiative to help northern Colorado clinicians more easily identify and treat sepsis, which annually kills 258,000 people in the U.S.

Medical Simulation Corporation (MSC) announced a three-year partnership with UCHealth, including Medical Center of the Rockies and Poudre Valley Hospital, to pilot the program. The UCHealth hospitals are two of five chosen nationally to participate and the only facilities in Colorado. The program is expected to be a benchmark for early identification and care of patients who present with or develop sepsis.

Commonly known as blood poisoning, sepsis occurs when the body’s response to an infection damages its own tissues and organs. Essentially, the body’s inflammatory response takes over the entire body, leading to shock, organ failure and possible death. Sepsis can be treated with antibiotics and acute care methods, but symptoms are sometimes overlooked in hospital settings because they can be hard to identify.

Rebecca Kubala, a clinical quality specialist overseeing the campaign, said the program will provide in-depth, hands-on experience for clinicians. “The goal is to help improve their knowledge-base around what sepsis is and how to treat it,” Kubala said. “Since sepsis is not easily identifiable, clinicians always need to be thinking about it in order to find it.”

Program participants include 480 clinical employees at Medical Center of the Rockies and Poudre Valley Hospital who work in emergency rooms, intensive care units, and medical and surgical areas where sepsis most commonly occurs.

Ric Detlefsen, director of UCHealth’s Quality and Risk Management in northern Colorado, said the need to improve sepsis identification and treatment was pinpointed by UCHealth’s Quality Improvement Council. Subsequently, an alert system was created in the emergency department using EPIC, UCHealth’s electronic medical record. The system flags symptoms such as temperature, heart rate, and respiration so that treatment time can begin within one hour of arrival.

“We are thrilled to be selected among an elite cadre of U.S. hospitals to lead this national initiative toward improved patient outcomes and reduced health care costs,” said Donna Poduska, chief nursing officer at Poudre Valley Hospital. “MSC’s Advanced Quality Program will improve our health care teams’ performance in applying evidence-based guidelines for sepsis early identification and treatment and directly result in saving lives, representing a valuable benefit for our entire community.”

“The American Hospital Association is proud to support University of Colorado Health’s efforts to improve quality of care and control costs through implementation of MSC’s simulation solutions as the initiative’s first charter hospital,” said Anthony J. Burke, President and CEO of AHA Solutions. “UCHealth has demonstrated its continued commitment to providing the best possible care for their community through their participation in this innovative program.”

“UCHealth embodies the qualities of innovative hospitals and systems that we are looking to partner with in this national campaign,” said Bill Younkes, MSC President. “Medical Simulation Corporation is excited to continue our partnership with this pioneering health care system to help them, and health care organizations nationwide, make a significant impact on health care quality and patient and hospital outcomes.”

About UCHealth

UCHealth is a Front Range health system that delivers the highest quality patient care with the highest quality patient experience. UCHealth combines Memorial Hospital, Poudre Valley Hospital, Medical Center of the Rockies, Colorado Health Medical Group and University of Colorado Hospital into an organization dedicated to health and providing unmatched patient care in the Rocky Mountain West. UCHealth partners with the University of Colorado School of Medicine and numerous community organizations to provide care. Separately, these institutions can continue providing superior care to patients and service to the communities they serve. Together, they push the boundaries of medicine, attracting more research funding, hosting more clinical trials and improving health through innovation.

About Medical Simulation Corporation

Medical Simulation Corporation (MSC) is a worldwide health care leader in accelerating patient access to new medical therapies, improving patient outcomes and quality of care, and reducing the cost of health care delivery. MSC Advanced Quality Programs enable performance improvement by integrating technology, process, and people solutions. MSC’s Simulation Solutions have earned the exclusive endorsement of the American Hospital Association. For more information, please visit www.medsimulation.com or call 888.889-5882.

 The American Hospital Association (AHA) Endorsement Seal is the exclusive property of the AHA. AHA Solutions, Inc., a subsidiary of the AHA, has been given the exclusive right to award the AHA Endorsement on behalf of the AHA and is compensated for the use of the AHA marks and for its assistance in marketing endorsed products and services. By agreement, pricing of endorsed products and services may not be increased by the providers to reflect fees paid to the AHA.

About the author

UCHealth is an innovative, nonprofit health system that delivers the highest quality medical care with an excellent patient experience. With 24,000 employees, UCHealth includes 12 acute-care full-service hospitals and hundreds of physicians across Colorado, southern Wyoming and western Nebraska. With University of Colorado Hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus as its academic anchor and the only adult academic medical center in the region, UCHealth pushes the boundaries of medicine, providing advanced treatments and clinical trials and improving health through innovation.