Intensivists are highly trained physicians who specialize in managing the care of patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital. For many years, hospitals have relied on consulting physicians to care for patients in the ICU, but more and more hospitals are moving towards hiring intensivists to work in the ICU full-time. One major reason for shifting towards intensivists instead of consulting physicians is the cost savings. Opening up intensivist jobs can help a hospital save money in several ways, such as:
Utilizing the ICU Less
Many patients are transferred to the ICU out of precaution. While in the ICU, these patients may be over-treated and receive tests and procedures that are not actually needed, which can be quite costly. When an ICU has a intensivist managing the care of ICU patients, he or she can appropriately assess newly admitted patients to determine if the patient actually needs to be in the ICU or if the patient can be safely transferred to another ward before unnecessary procedures and treatments are performed.
Reduction of Medical Errors
The intensivist model of care is designed to promote team work and patient care in the ICU. The intensivists work closely with nurses, pharmacists, therapists, and social workers to ensure that everyone is on the same page in regards to the care that a patient is receiving. By working together closely, medical errors can be greatly reduced, thus saving a hospital money and ensuring better outcomes for the ICU patients.
Palliative Care Referrals
While the goal of physicians and nurses is the full recovery of a patient, many ICU patients are critically ill and don't have long to live. Intensivists can determine the likely outcome of a patient and facilitate palliative care referrals to help keep the person comfortable during his or her final days. Utilizing palliative care for terminally ill ICU patients can help prevent the use of invasive, aggressive, and expensive therapies that may prolong life but do not provide any quality of life.
ICU nurses play an essential role in patient care, and nurse turnover in the ICU can cost a hospital a lot of money. Using intensivits who focus solely on the ICU as well as using multidisciplinary rounding with the nurses and intensivist can help build a rapport and increase nurse job satisfaction. Unlike using multiple consulting physicians for ICU patients, employing a few full-time intensivists allows good working relationships to form between the physician and nurses.