OHA Receives National Sepsis Alliance's 2020 Hero Award

For Five Years OHA and Ohio Hospitals Reduces Sepsis Mortality Through Early Recognition, Appropriate Intervention

OHA received Sepsis Alliance 2020 Sepsis Hero award on Sept. 17, 2020 during a virtual ceremony honoring health care organizations, clinicans and community programs. Click here for awards program.

OHA Board of Trustees identified reducing sepsis mortality in Ohio as one of the key focus areas for OHA and Ohio hospitals in 2015. The initiative aimed to reduce sepsis mortality in Ohio through early recognition and early, appropriate intervention. A statewide sepsis initiative was launched by OHA’s clinical quality team led by James Guliano, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, FACHE, vice president, OHA Quality Programs in June 2015. OHA’s initiative attracted 125 hospitals and by working together more than 5,474 lives are estimated to have been saved since 2015 through early recognition and early, appropriate intervention.

According to the Sepsis Alliance, any infection, from the tiniest source (a bug bite, a hangnail, etc.) to the more severe (pneumonia, meningitis, and more), can trigger sepsis, which can lead to severe sepsis and septic shock. The infection can be bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic.

Sepsis is the body's overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death. Sepsis affects 1.7 million people and takes 270,000 lives every year in the United States. Young children and the elderly experience the greatest number of sepsis-related deaths as well as killing more Americans than prostate cancer, breast cancer, and opioid overdoses combined. Sepsis impacted an estimated 43,851 Ohioans in 2019.

Key tactics within OHA's initiative include, but are not limited to: 
  • Collect, analyze, monitor, and report sepsis quarterly mortality-related data, including incidence, mortality (POA and non-POA), admission sources, length of stay, readmission, progression, and 3-hour bundle compliance 
  • Design and provide pertinent monthly evidence-based continuing education programs addressing current trends in sepsis care across the care continuum leveraging regional, state, national, and international subject matter experts as well as providing presentations at statewide conferences
  • Collaborate with provider groups and other state and national quality initiatives 
  • Assess and address health care provider needs related to the timeliness and accuracy of diagnosing sepsis 
  • Dissemination of effective practices through the design and toolkits such as non-present on admission sepsis cases and hospital-to-hospital transfer of sepsis patients
  • Advisement provided by James O’Brien, MD, MSc
  • Participation in related advocacy issues that support a decrease in sepsis mortality

Among the notable efforts that Ohio hospitals have undertaken are the following:
  • Implemented intentional leadership and organizational actions to address sepsis mortality reduction
  • Developed protocols and strategies for early recognition of sepsis and early, appropriate intervention of sepsis care 
  • Promoted interdisciplinary clinical teams for timely sepsis care
  • Partnered with key stakeholders in their communities along the care continuum
  • Engaged local media to raise community awareness of sepsis 
  • Designed creative sepsis education for health care providers and community members
  • Through its partnership with Sepsis Alliance, Ohio hospitals hold representation on its Governing Board, Advisory Board, Sepsis Clinical Community Network, and its Advocacy Committee.

In 2017, OHA and its Signs of Sepsis campaign received the American Hospital Association’s Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Honorable Mention Award for Allied Association Leadership.

Ohio Governors’ John Kasich and Mike DeWine proclaimed September sepsis awareness month in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 supporting the need for community awareness to prevent mortality.

OHA will continue leading an initiative focused on reducing sepsis mortality in Ohio through a coordinated and comprehensive strategy with member hospitals. The statewide sepsis initiative remains a product of the OHA’s strategic plan.