Project to improve sepsis care named finalist for excellence award

Nurse taking a blood test from patient's forearm
The FSH SMART Sepsis project worked to improve the use of microbiology testing, such as blood tests, to diagnose infection
October 5, 2018

PathWest SMART Sepsis, a project at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) improving the use of microbiology testing to diagnose infection, has been named a finalist in the 2018 WA Health Excellence Awards.

Each year, 160,000 patients in WA’s public hospitals have blood, urine and swabs (microbiology) testing performed to diagnose infection. Accurate and timely testing is critical to improving patient outcomes and reducing waste.

The FSH PathWest SMART Sepsis project is based on analysis of routinely collected laboratory data to target improvement efforts. The multidisciplinary project team used the findings to implement policy and system changes, as well as develop a range of guidelines and tools to educate clinicians about effective microbiology testing.

Since its commencement in 2017, the quality of microbiology testing has improved, including a 12 per cent increase in the diagnosis of sepsis in patients presenting to the FSH Emergency Department.

PathWest Microbiologist and State Project Lead Dr Susan Benson said the project at FSH was leading the way, with it set to expand across the State next year.

“This project is an important example of how pathology can play an even greater role in improving healthcare,” Dr Benson said.

FSH Project Lead Hazel Inglis said the numerous staff involved in the project were pleased to be named a finalist.

“SMART Sepsis is an exciting initiative which has managed to both improve patient care and reduce costs through more accurate testing,” Hazel said.

“It has demonstrated what data and collaboration between disciplines can achieve.”

The PathWest FSH SMART Sepsis project is a finalist in the ‘Improving safety and quality’ category, with winners being announced on 8 November.