Research Studies

Examination of a Sepsis Quality Improvement Program

Acute Care
Research Studies


Examine the impact of a sepsis quality improvement program at an integrated healthcare system.


Sepsis is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients accounting for 6.2% of total hospital costs in the U.S. Sepsis is defined as “life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by a dysregulated host response to infection.” Early identification and treatment can help improve outcomes. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate that U.S. hospitals report the sepsis bundle compliance. There is a need for research studies examining sepsis identification and prevention. We will examine a quality improvement project at an integrated healthcare system in the Midwest.

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M. Courtney Hughes PhD, MS

Senior Researcher, Relias


Publication pending

Research Partner

Trinity Health


The study will be a retrospective analysis of de-identified patient data from an intervention group and a control group. Trinity Health, a non-profit health system in North Dakota, will serve as the intervention group. Trinity Health implemented a sepsis quality improvement program that consisted of clinical alerts, audit and feedback, and staff education. The control group, consisting of hospitals similar in size (small) and population served (rural) will contribute data from two other regional healthcare organizations that did not implement such a sepsis quality improvement program. We will examine four measures–length of stay, sepsis-related mortality, charges per encounter, and compliance to the sepsis bundle—for the four months before the intervention, the ten months during the intervention, and the four months after the intervention.