Three of Intermountain Healthcare's clinical leaders have been awarded the prestigious Osler's Cloak Award for their work in dramatically decreasing hospital sepsis-related mortality at Intermountain hospitals. The recipients are: Todd Allen, MD; Nancy Nelson, RN, MS; and Wayne Watson, MSN, RN. All three work with Intermountain's Intensive Medicine Clinical Program.
The award is named after Dr. William Osler, a physician who in the early 1900s led a change in American medicine that focused on medical education, transformation of the health professions, clinical research, and an emphasis on what it meant to truly be a caring healthcare professional. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to transforming healthcare at Intermountain, and only 36 clinicians have received the Osler Award in its 15-year history.
Sepsis is the most common cause of death today in U.S. hospitals. Nationally, mortality rates for sepsis cases entering the hospital through the emergency room range from 20 percent to more than 50 percent.
Starting in 2007, the award winners and the Intensive Medicine Clinical Program, led by Terry Clemmer, MD (who previously received an Osler's Cloak Award), began to develop and deploy an evidence-based protocol for the aggressive detection and treatment of sepsis, starting in the Emergency Room and continuing into the Intensive Care Unit. The process required 11 clinical elements during the first 24 hours of treatment that were important in treating sepsis.
When they started, Intermountain's performance was already one of the best in the nation: they had a 20.2 percent sepsis mortality rate. Five years later they have defined a new standard of best care: Intermountain's mortality rate for septic patients entering the Emergency Room has fallen to under nine percent. That represents more than 100 Utah lives saved each year.
These advancements in caring for patients with sepsis are now being adopted by hospitals nationally and internationally.
"These three individuals, representing hundreds of their professional colleagues within the Intensive Medicine Clinical Program, have shown the country and the world what is possible through teamwork focused on patients," said Brent James, MD, Intermountain's chief quality officer and executive director of the Intermountain Institute for Health Care Delivery Research. "They have cared not only for those patients who have placed their well-being and lives directly in their capable hands, but for all patients who seek the help of healing professionals, now and in the future. We can join with Sir William Osler in saying that they have created a 'new outlook for humanity.'"