As health care systems look to lower costs and improve patient outcomes, controlling sepsis is a great place to start. Ignoring that opportunity is a huge mistake.
Sepsis is caused by the body’s exuberant response to an infection. It is the No. 1 inpatient hospital expense in the United States, with costs tripling over the last decade to $27 billion. Nearly half of all hospital deaths are caused by sepsis. And the problem is growing — it’s now one of the top five causes of hospitalization in age groups over 18. This is why a comprehensive plan to detect, treat, and prevent sepsis must be an essential pillar of any serious effort to improve care and drive down costs.
When a patient spikes a fever for an unknown reason, doctors usually send blood samples to be cultured. But it can take an enormously long time — up to six days — to get the results. In addition, these cultures miss 35 percent to 50 percent of infections.
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