A green rectangle.
A graphic of a green and grey leaf is beside "BC Patient Safety & Quality Council".
A banner image with one square on the left that is light green. It reads "$50.6 million saved". On the right is a larger teal rectangle with graphics of arrows in the background. It reads "981 cases averted" and "172 deaths averted".

Almost a decade ago, we created the BC Sepsis Network to bring clinicians together to share expertise and resources as well as lead local efforts to improve care for sepsis. It’s since grown to more than 300 members who work in 36 hospitals, and a new study estimates our significant impact on the quality of sepsis care in BC over a recent five-year period.

Research released in the medical journal Critical Care Medicine estimates that BC’s health care system prevented 1,153 people from acquiring sepsis in hospital or dying from the disease from 2014-18, saving the health care system and patients’ families approximately $51 million.

A run graph with the title "Annual In-Hospital Sepsis Incidence Rate, 2011-18". The graph shows that the rates of in-hospital sepsis in BC decreased after the BC Sepsis Network launched, compared to data from the rest of Canada excluding BC.
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How'd We Do It?
Significant improvements in the quality of sepsis care can be seen since we created the network in 2012 to mobilize collective action. This research shows the impact of targeting improvement work on a specific area of care and our unique expertise to lead that work by:

  • Developing evidence-informed guidelines to improve early recognition and treatment 
  • Sharing clinical best practice as new evidence is published locally and internationally, and supporting its implementation
  • Accelerating the spread of treatment protocols via provincial campaigns and education
  • Building an active network of clinicians from across the province and supporting them to champion sepsis improvement within their organizations
  • Engaging patients and families to inform where and how to focus improvement work
  • Identifying new ways to leverage real-time data from intensive care and high acuity units to recognize emerging improvement priorities
  • Improving teamwork and communication between point-of-care staff
The title reads "Estimated Return on Investment of the BC Sepsis Network:" Below on the left is "$50.6 M Saved Including: Follow-up Care: $31M In-Hospital Care: $17M". On the right side is "$112.50 Saved for Every $1 Invested into the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council to lead this work." The two sides are divided by a green lined with a graphic of a dollar sign in the middle. Along the bottom in small font is "While observational findings illustrate an association between the existence of the BC Sepsis Network and improved economic burden over time, no causal relationship can be determined."

Leading the Way in Canada
This study – one of the first of its kind – estimates the degree to which care for sepsis has improved in BC as well as how the province compares to the rest of the Canada when it comes to preventing and treating sepsis. BC outperformed the rest of the country in every metric examined in the study – for example, the in-hospital sepsis caseload decreased by 17% in BC compared to 1.7% in the rest of Canada by the end of 2018 (excluding Quebec and the territories).

“Since we began focusing on improving care for sepsis, BC has gone from being one of the lowest-performing provinces to leading the way,” said Devin Harris, our Chair and an emergency department physician. “And now we can see the impact of that work: more than 1,150 families did not have to see their loved ones acquire sepsis, or worse, die from the disease.”

A graphic of a map of Canada in green, with BC in a lighter shade. The map is on a larger light green circle. To the right, text reads "In 2017, an estimated 10x the number of in-hospital sepsis cases and 8x the number of sepsis deaths were averted in BC compared to the rest of Canada." Along the bottom in small font is "While observational findings illustrate an association between the existence of the BC Sepsis Network and a reduction of in-hospital sepsis cases and sepsis deaths, no causal relationship can be determined."

Thank You, BC Sepsis Network Members!
We thank you for your hard work to improve sepsis care in our province! We’re so proud to lead the network and look forward to what we accomplish together in the years to come.

“These results show what can happen when clinicians who are passionate about improving the quality of care they provide are brought together and supported to lead that work within their organizations,” said David Sweet, a critical care physician and Chair of the BC Sepsis Network. “I’m so proud of our sepsis network members whose hard work has made such an impact for British Columbians and transformed our province into a national and global leader in caring for sepsis.”


What is Sepsis?
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to an infection becomes too severe. Each year, 30,000 Canadians are hospitalized because of sepsis – more than 30% of whom die – and the disease represents close to 20% of all global deaths.

Join the BC Sepsis Network
There are now more than 300 members who work in 36 hospitals and come together to focus on identifying and treating new infections early, preventing sepsis from developing as well as treating sepsis and septic shock. Join them today.


*Source: Canadian Institute for Health Information, excluding Quebec and the territories. 

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