New Jersey hospitals are touting results of an effort to reduce deadly infections, reporting 400 lives saved in the first year of a new program.

It's called The Sepsis Learning and Action Collaborative.

New Jersey Hospital Association spokeswoman Kerry McKean Kelly says state hospitals  have reduced severe Sepsis mortality by almost 11 percent in the first year of this effort.

"We have found through this collaborative model statewide that we can really push the dial on a statewide basis."

Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction by the body to infection. Kelly says it is a systemic infection that can start for a variety of reasons, but becomes systemic throughout your entire body. It is difficult to detect because symptoms mirror the flu or other common illnesses. It is a very serious condition, with high mortality and high cost for the individual. It can also be a debilitating condition.

The NJHA has an Institute for Quality and Patient Safety. They gather hospitals and other health care providers from across the state together in order to work united on a common condition, to learn to from industry experts, and to identify and adopt best practices.

"A big part of this is sharing data with each other, because you need to measure whether you are improving or not, and then sharing experiences and lessons learned."

She says the work will continue "because our goal is to reduce the overall sepsis rate by 20 percent."

Kelly says reducing the instance of hospital sepsis improves care — and "when you do improve care, you also reduce costs."

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Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at

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