A study conducted by Northwest Hospital and Lifebridge Critical Care researchers found that when a collaborative culture was created between the ICU and emergency department, there was a significant decrease in mortality, length of ICU stay, and intermediate care unit-to-ICU transfers. The retrospective study, which will be presented at CHEST 2015, focused on 886 medical records from patients with sepsis and compared mortality and length of stay before and after making ICU admission criteria less stringent.

Overall mortality decreased by 45.4% from 14.38% to 7.85% upon implementation. Although the severity of the illness did not change, the length of ICU stay was 25.9% lower in the post-implementation cohort (3.97 days versus 2.94 days), and the number of intermediate care unit patients who were transferred also decreased by 67.1% from 3.89% to 1.28%.

The results of the analysis show that developing a collaborative culture and standardized ICU admission criteria for patients with sepsis not only provides smarter use of ICUs but may also help improve annual cost savings in hospitals as well, according to the American College of Chest Physicians.

“Although ICU level of care is costly, earlier inclusion of borderline patients may improve mortality,” says Joseph Carrington, MD, lead research of the study. “It may also significantly decrease resource utilization, as our study found.”

Source: American College of Chest Physicians