"Using conservative cost estimates, annualized savings available to hospitals with small, six bed ICU are $500,000, a 12 bed ICU $2 million and an 18 bed ICU $3 million," said lead author Peter J. Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care, surgery, health policy and management, as well as medical director of the Center for Innovations in Quality Patient Care at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. The figures include the salaries of the ICU physicians, or intensivists.
Intensivists are board certified in a medical specialty such as surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, or anesthesiology, and have received special training and subspecialty certification in critical care. They are dedicated to the ICU and remain on the unit for the duration of their assigned coverage.
The Leapfrog Group's intensive care unit physician staffing standard requires ICUs to have a dedicated intensivist present in the ICU at all times during the day and immediately available at night by pager. A physician must be in the hospital and able to reach ICU patients immediately.
Several large U.S. healthcare purchasers formed The Leapfrog Group to initiate breakthroughs in patient safety and to improve the overall value of healthcare to U.S. consumers.
The researchers used published data combined with conservative assumptions to create financial models of cost and savings for 6-, 12-, and 18-bed intensive care units staffed under this ICU physician staffing standard.
The authors found that annual cost savings would range from $510,000 to $3.3 million for 6- to 18-bed ICUs. A best-case scenario demonstrated an annual savings of $4.2 to $13
Contact: Thomas Joseph
Society of Critical Care Medicine