Sepsis Smart: An interactive educational video to highlight sepsis diagnostic errors

  • A Spreading Improvement project run by Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust, the UK Sepsis Trust and film producer Martin Percy.
  • A resource for use across the UK.
  • Will develop and disseminate an interactive educational video to highlight sepsis diagnostic errors, covering the whole sepsis pathway of care.
  • The video will become a portal for access to all UK Sepsis Trust educational resources and materials. 

Sepsis is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the UK. A common feature is the failure to identify the condition and therefore start appropriate antibiotic therapy.

The diagnosis of sepsis can be difficult. Patients from all age groups can be affected, and unusual presentations are common and easily missed. Many patients present in the community but may not be referred for timely, appropriate treatment. In addition, the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust (RSCH) has found a lack of consistent educational resources used both in primary and secondary care.

Improving outcomes after emergency laparotomy was a Shine 2012 project by the RSCH that involved developing a quality improvement care bundle. It resulted in a reduction in risk-adjusted mortality across four acute NHS trusts by 42%. The element of the care bundle that was most challenging to implement was recognising patients with sepsis and rapidly administering antibiotics.

The trust is now working with the UK Sepsis Trust to develop an interactive film to help health care professionals improve diagnosis of sepsis. The film, to be produced by film-maker Martin Percy, will be along the lines of the Lifesaver film. It will be developed in collaboration with clinical focus groups, and will trace the journey of a patient attending their GP/community provider, where key signs of sepsis are not picked up. Further consultations take place and at each opportunity the reasons for failure to diagnose will be highlighted. The video will then allow users to access other educational products from the UK Sepsis Trust.

Contact details

For more information about this project, please email Dr Nial Quiney, Consultant Anaesthetist at Royal Surrey County Hospital.

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