Dr. Andre Vovan, MD, MBA is a critical care specialist, leading the system-wide sepsis collaborative for hospitals in the St. Joseph Hoag Health network of care and is a champion of sepsis identification and treatment. His advocacy for improved sepsis outcomes and his leadership has helped the health system not only decrease sepsis mortality, but shortened hospital stays, which is better for patients and reduces healthcare costs overall. Collaboration is key, says Dr. Vovan. “The treatment requires so much collaboration and coordination that it really tests the way the hospital operates and the providers who need to coordinate together to do that, from the ED physician to the nurses to the critical care physicians and hospitalists. They’re all needed to work in a seamless manner.”
A lot of work still needs to be done, however. “I would say that sepsis is probably the silent killer of our generation and the amazing part of it is that the treatment and the cure is not about a new medication, but it’s about making sure that your hospital is able to mobilize its resources so that they can coordinate and collaborate to deliver you the necessary care in a timely manner,” Dr. Vovan says. “It’s about getting the right care at the right time in the right setting.”
Recognizing and treatment of sepsis is vital, but Dr. Vovan is also concerned about the issues that sepsis survivors may face when they leave the hospital. “We see patients two, three, or four months out and they can still profoundly weak and haven’t fully recovered yet,” he explains. “I don’t think the primary care physicians are as aware as they should be about post sepsis syndrome.”
Since 2004, the facility worked on managing sepsis in the critical unit and then this work was brought to the regular hospital units, Dr. Vovan says. The program was then introduced into the emergency room and throughout the system. “The last piece that we’re just starting to work on is the discharge and the post discharge, to set up a program for the patients on the follow-ups to get the patients back to their prior state, and to also prevent them from being readmitted to the hospital, because they have a very high chance of being readmitted.”
Ten years after Dr. Andre Vovan began working with patients who have sepsis, his father’s life was saved due to the sepsis protocol and system Dr. Vovan and his team put into place. “I wasn’t even at our hospital during that time, but the system we put in place saved his life,” he explains. “The whole work in sepsis for me was always to help people survive this problem and to save lives but in the end it saved my dad.”
Dr. Vovan was the former Executive Medical Director of the Acute Care Institute at Hoag Hospital. He was also the Executive Medical Director (Clinical Effectiveness) at St. Joseph Hoag Health. He received his MBA from the University of California, Irvine, and his MD from the University of California, San Diego. He resides in Orange County, CA.