VHA Health Foundation Receives Grant to Develop Quality Care Measures for Sepsis Care


IRVING, Texas -- The VHA Health Foundation is undertaking an initiative to develop, test and disseminate quality measures for the treatment of patients with severe sepsis, which strikes an estimated 750,000 people in the U.S. annually, resulting in 215,000 deaths.

The VHA Health Foundation will act as the project manager for a diverse team of researchers and staff from VHA Inc., Johns Hopkins University and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). The collaborative effort extends over a three-year period, at which time the VHA Health Foundation will disseminate findings from the project. Funding for the project is being provided through an unrestricted educational grant from Eli Lilly and Company.

Sepsis, defined as a range of clinical conditions caused by the body's immune response to infection or trauma, ranges from a systemic inflammatory response to organ dysfunction to multiple organ failure. Specific therapies can reduce mortality of septic patients, but despite this evidence, quality measures for septic patients have yet to be developed -- until now.

"A mounting number of patients in the ICU are experiencing adverse events, which makes this an appropriate area for review," said Linda DeWolf, vice president, VHA Health Foundation. "Developing and implementing sepsis measures at the national level can make a tremendous difference in the quality of health in this country. We are pleased to have this opportunity to work with these other distinguished national organizations. Our hope is that the collaboration will serve as a model for developing other measures of quality in the future."

"Purchasers, regulators, accreditors and providers are all leading efforts to evaluate the quality of ICU care, since it consumes 30 percent of acute care medical costs, or $180 billion annually, in the United States," said Stuart Baker, MD, executive vice president at VHA Inc. "This initiative addresses this key issue."

Peter Pronovost, MD, PhD, at Johns Hopkins University, will serve as principal investigator on the project. Johns Hopkins will conduct the initial literature review, establish an advisory panel and develop and test the candidate measures. VHA will develop an electronic reporting system and lead a trial of 20 ICUs that will test sepsis measures through its Transformation of the ICU program, a collaborative of leading hospitals from across the country. A written summary of findings will also be produced. JCAHO will act as a consultant for the development of recommended performance measures and plans to test the measures in 2004.

"The Joint Commission is pleased to lend our measurement expertise to this important effort to develop a set of sepsis measures to complement our existing core measures," said Jerod M. Loeb, PhD, executive vice president for research with JCAHO. Loeb notes "the review process to develop and test these measures includes representation from a variety of critical stakeholders, making ultimate implementation of the measures more likely."

The VHA Health Foundation, located in Irving, Texas, is a public foundation created by VHA Inc. to help healthcare providers create, test and replicate new models of care for improving the health of their communities.

Source: VHA Health Foundation

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