Boulder, Colo. — February 15, 2018 —Sepsis is a deadly immune response to bacterial infection that gets into the blood stream. It is a major issue for hospitals as it is difficult to diagnose and expensive to treat. This life-threatening illness is common, but its symptoms can be tricky to spot and are often mistaken for other serious illnesses.

According to the CDC, more than 1.5 million Americans get sepsis annually, and about 250,000 people die. Every hour that a sepsis diagnosis is missed, mortality increases by eight percent.

Sepsis is not just a clinical challenge. In recent years, it has become an increasing financial burden as well. According to a 2016 study from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, sepsis accounts for nearly $24 billion in annual healthcare costs.

“Sepsis is a difficult problem to address as it cuts across the continuum of care and the guidelines continue to change as we learn more about the diagnosis and treatment,” said Bob Burgin, CEO of the Amplifire Healthcare Alliance.

In a national study that included 1,245 clinicians from 23 healthcare organizations, Amplifire found and remediated a significant amount of misinformation about sepsis and sepsis care.  “This study underscores how much the right knowledge and optimal understanding directly translates to performance when dealing with real-time sepsis conditions,” said Burgin.

Among participants, the study revealed 7,795 instances of misinformation and 14,500 instances of uncertainty about sepsis management. Clinicians also struggled with more than 60% of the elements of sepsis covered in the course. However, by the course’s end, all participants were both confident and correct in their understanding of how to diagnose and treat sepsis.

“Simply changing regulatory guidelines will not lead to physicians changing their practices,” said Dan Davis, MD, co-author of the Alliance sepsis course and Founder of the UC San Diego Center for Resuscitation Science. “However, a study such as this shows us there is far too much confusion and misinformation about sepsis. We need this type of study if physicians are expected to align their practices with evidence-based guidelines.”

The knowledge study was conducted between August and October of 2017, with 1,245 hospitalists, emergency physicians and advanced practitioners from 23 community-based healthcare organizations, academic medical centers, and physician management companies. Participants completed an accredited, evidence-based “Early Detection and Treatment of Sepsis” course on Amplifire, a knowledge engineering platform.

The study yielded some specific observations about sepsis care that are often issues of debate or confusion for clinicians. Among them:

  1. Many participants underestimated the rate at which the risk of sepsis compounds with age, which can interfere with early diagnosis among higher-risk patients.
  2. Nearly half of participants incorrectly thought the urinary tract was the most common source for sepsis. The lungs account for more than half of cases and are five times more likely to be the infection source than the urinary tract.
  3. Only one-third of participants accurately ranked communication failures between clinicians as the leading type of root cause in the Joint Commissions sentinel events.
  4. More than half of participants overestimated by 2 to 4 hours how long the resuscitative effects of a fluid bolus persist.
  5. Nearly 80% of participants were unaware that lactate levels were eliminated from the Sepsis-3 guidelines as a criterion for sepsis.
  6. Only about one-third of participants realized that a sharp decline in systolic blood pressure over a short period can be sufficient for a diagnosis of septic shock, even if hypotension remains above diagnostic thresholds.

The fastest participants demonstrated mastery of the sepsis material in 27 minutes, the average participant took 37 minutes, and the learners with the most misinformation attained mastery in 75 minutes.

“The study provided ground-breaking analytics about what individual clinicians know and where they struggle within specific topics,” said Burgin. “This type of data is unprecedented and gives quality and safety executives, Chief Nursing Officers, and Chief Medical Officers actionable data that directly translates to improved patient care and reduction in costly human error.”

Full study information and additional results can be downloaded at

About Amplifire

Amplifire saves lives, time, and money. ( It is the leading e-learning platform built from discoveries in cognitive science. With over a billion learner interactions, it is proven to help people learn faster, remember longer, and perform better. Healthcare organizations use Amplifire’s adaptive learning algorithms, predictive behavior guidance, and advanced analytic capabilities to drive business outcomes with a significant return on investment.