Sepsis accounted for 20-25% of global deaths in 2020, according to a landmark study from the World Health Organization (WHO). Though sepsis rates have held steady in recent years, sepsis treatment costs have skyrocketed in the United States. The Lancet estimated 60.2 million cases of sepsis in 1990 and 48.9 million cases globally in 2017. With the increasing burden of chronic disease, the value of proper use of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sepsis treatment bundle, or SEP-1, is only increasing.
Using diabetes as an example, a recent Swedish study of over half a million patients found that sepsis was independently associated with a four-fold more significant risk of death for patients with type 2 diabetes.
Sepsis rates have held steady in recent years — even declining in some cases — however, treatment costs have skyrocketed in the United States. Sepsis is the most expensive hospitalization episode of care. More than $55 million is spent on sepsis care in hospitals every day. The total cost of sepsis hospital care for the entire U.S. population was $57.47B in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the help of SEP-1, healthcare leaders can make improving sepsis care a critical goal that aligns with value-based care goals and improved patient outcomes. But, care teams will need standardized processes and advanced technology to realize the clinical and financial benefits of the sepsis bundle and overcome the challenges that SEP-1 adherence often presents.
Patient outcomes are improved with the SEP-1 bundle
The use of the SEP-1 bundle is proven to improve care outcomes. In 2012, the state of New York began requiring compliance reporting from hospitals on their treatment of severe sepsis and sepsis shock. A 2019 study published in the journal Critical Care Medicine found that in situations where patients were treated according to the requirements:
- There was an overall reduction of 4.3% in sepsis mortality in New York, a 30% improvement over the average mortality rates in four control states.
- Patients had a 15% lower likelihood of mortality.
- With a 3-hour SEP bundle, the length of stay was reduced by almost three days. With the 6-hour bundle, it was over 24 hours shorter.
The benefits of a strategic and tech-enabled approach to treating sepsis are obvious for patients. A 2016 study from the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association found that electronic surveillance, change management, and surveillance algorithms to detect sepsis resulted in a 53% decrease in mortality and a 30-day readmission rate that fell from 19.08% to 13.21% during the control period. The surveillance algorithms adjusted clinical parameters based on comorbid medical conditions to improve specificity and sensitivity. Nurses participating in the study also received mobile alerts for positive sepsis screenings, shock, and severe sepsis.