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Integrating Hospitalist Physicians into the ICU Team Requires "Best Practices" Training and Tele-ICU Back-Up

Hospitalists can be an integral part of the ICU team if they are trained in ICU best practices and have access to a tele-ICU with round the clock availability, according to a recent webinar at the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM.)

To achieve optimal results in the ICU, a solid, well-delineated process, like best practices, is more important than which people are on the team or what the intervention is, Mary Jo Gorman, M.D., chief executive officer and founder of Advanced ICU Care, said. Incorporating hospitalists into the ICU team is a natural step given that they are already in the hospital seeing patients.

However, few hospitalists have had critical care medicine fellowship training, and most have spent limited time in the ICU, Gorman continued. The hospital must also consider the hospitalists' time commitment given their existing duties, which range from interventions in the emergency department to planning timely discharges to communication with families and primary care physicians. Hospitalists might not be able to provide round-the-clock ICU coverage given their diverse duties.

The incorporation of hospitalists into the ICU team should also include daily, multi-disciplinary, goal-directed rounds, dedicated ICU time without competing priorities, robust back-up and cross coverage, best practice implementation and ICU committee participation.

Hospitalist training for ICU team participation should focus on ICU best practices and common procedures, such as ventilator management and trouble shooting, the use of fluids, and the prevention of sepsis, a whole-body inflammatory state.

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Source: Business Wire, September 27, 2011


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