The Benefits of Dedicated Intensivist Support

It’s no secret that diversifying your teams with specialists in multi-professional fields can improve patient care, hospital costs, and overall provider environment.

With the current challenges of critical care in the US, industry experts are suggesting that a dedicated team of trained and credentialed intensivists can not only provide cost savings for the hospital but also better quality care for patients.

Hospitals admit more than five million patients to intensive care units (ICU) across the U.S. each year. The severity of their condition is rather high by nature and, therefore, the mortality stats are disturbing — nearly 200,000 of the above-mentioned patients each year do not survive. Given these statistics, it is vital that hospitals ensure their ICUs are providing the highest quality care.

Benefits to Hospitals

According to Dr. Rade Vukmir, a Medical Director with Schumacher Clinical Partners, there’s much to be gained by having a team of intensivists with a focused priority.

“Having dedicated intensive care specialists who make the ICU their primary area of practice enables a better level of service for patients, their families, and the hospital staff,” Dr. Vukmir explained. “Every hospital wants to make sure they have a great relationship with their community, and these intensivists can help support development of a marquee service that contributes to an improved reputation with patients and families.”

Additional benefits of an intensivist program include reduced lengths of stay and overall costs of care while improving quality of care and outcomes. A facility can increase its capabilities by serving a broader portion of patients’ needs, which in turn increases overall revenue.

More importantly, there’s no more fractionalized care for the patient. Overseen by the intensivist, patient care is consolidated and coordinated so that the medical staff has one representative for questions and answers.

Added Benefit to Smaller Hospitals

Traditionally, in smaller, community-based hospitals, primary care physicians retain the chief responsibility for treating their critically ill patients. However, this approach comes with drawbacks:

  • Primary care doctors typically have little experience treating such patients, which means they must often bring in specialists to consult. This can result in poorly-coordinated care that leaves patients and their families wondering who is in charge.
  • The need to attend to other hospitalized and office patients leaves the doctors with time constraints that further hamper their ability to provide the highest level of care, despite their best intentions.

Due to their inability to adequately staff ICUs, many smaller hospitals must send patients who could otherwise be treated on-site to tertiary facilities.

This lack of a fully-functioning ICU places additional financial strain on the hospital and also adversely affects its reputation in the community.

As a result, hospitals like these are beginning to recognize the need to close the ICU and offer the benefits a dedicated intensivist can provide as well.

Additional Benefits to Patients

Patients in hospitals with an ICU managed by intensivist’s experience show:

  • Improved outcomes and shorter hospital stays;
  • Lower mortality rates (as much as 40 percent, according to one estimate);
  • Fewer clinical and procedural complications;
  • Decreased infection and ventilator rates;
  • Improved patient satisfaction;
  • Patients stay in the community hospital setting rather than being transported to other facilities.

Our Intensivist Program

At SCP, we are committed to innovative practices and continuous improvement in the quality, safety, and efficiency of care for patients.

That is why, in addition to our long-standing EM and HM services, we now offer a dedicated, independent intensivist program for small- to mid-sized community hospitals. “This is an exciting exponential growth area for us and a service SCP is happy to provide,” Dr. Vukmir added.

To achieve a seamless program, board-certified intensivists are on-site and coordinate patient care with a multidisciplinary team of nurses, specialists, and other medical professionals.

Each member of the ICU staff strictly adheres to detailed, evidence-based protocols, which are critical to improving outcomes and quality.

Based on the facility’s size, SCP’s clinical team will recommend the most appropriate and cost-effective coverage model. Growing programs, or those with specialty needs, can be staffed with 24-hour physician coverage.

In those cases that might have 12-hour overnight shifts, NPs and PAs specially trained in critical care are physically present, supported at all times by the on-call intensivist.

The intensivists review treatment goals daily with ICU staff, patients, and family members. To round out the service, SCP providers coordinate the care plans with the patient’s primary, specialty, or consultative physicians.

Conclusion

Patients transition from the ED and hospital to the ICU under the direct supervision of the emergency physician and hospitalist. As a result, treatment becomes a true team effort.

Wondering how you could implement an intensivist program in your ICU? Contact us to discuss your goals with our team of experts.