Atlantic Quality Innovation Network (AQIN) members IPRO and The Carolinas Center for Medical Excellence are undertaking a two-year project aimed at improving early identification and management of sepsis – a life-threatening, whole-body inflammatory response to infections, which kills 250,000 Americans each year. The AQIN project will focus on community-based providers (home health staff, nursing home personnel, Emergency Medical Services responders and physician practices) and hospitals, but will also work on raising public awareness about the signs of sepsis. “We know that between 15% and 30% of sepsis patients die from these medical emergencies,” says IPRO Chief Medical Officer Clare Bradley, MD, MPH. “At the same time, we also know that sepsis is among the most under-recognized and misunderstood conditions among providers and the general public. The AQIN project aims to improve care but also to raise awareness, with the overall goal of reducing inpatient admissions, mortality, hospital length-of-stay and hospital readmissions.” Nationwide, septicemia accounts for 700,000 Medicare hospital discharges annually, and is the program’s single most expensive condition, accounting for nearly 7% of all Medicare payments annually. In New York, septicemia is the number one driver of 30-day readmissions to hospitals (21.3%). Septicemia’s in-hospital Medicare mortality (death) rate in New York is 17% – four times the mortality rate from all causes. New York is the first state in the nation to require that every hospital implement state-of-the-art sepsis recognition and treatment protocols. The AQIN project is targeting the Albany and Syracuse regions of the state. In South Carolina, hospitals are not currently required to have sepsis protocols in place. The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has developed nurse-driven protocols to initiate lifesaving interventions in inpatient units and is actively participating in the AQIN project. “We’re fortunate to have nationally recognized experts from MUSC supporting our team with educational sessions, regional face-to-face meetings and quarterly webinars,” according to Dr. Bradley. The AQIN South Carolina project will focus on the Charleston region, with 372,913 residents and nearly 62,000 Medicare beneficiaries. To learn more about the AQIN Sepsis Special Innovation Project, contact IPRO Senior Director and Project Lead Sara Butterfield, BSN, RN, CPHQ, CCM at Sara.Butterfield@area-I.hcqis.org or (518) 426-3300, Ext. 104. Visit the AQIN website at www.atlanticquality.org.