The Impact of Implementing an Intensivist Model With Nighttime In-Hospital Nocturnist and Effect on ICU Outcomes

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Background:Various intensivist staffing models have been suggested, but the long-term sustainability and outcomes vary and may not be sustained. We examined the impact of implementing a high-intensity intensivist coverage model with a nighttime in-house nocturnist (non-intensivist) and its effect on intensive care unit (ICU) outcomes.Methods:We obtained historical control baseline data from 2007 to 2011 and compared the same data from 2011 to 2015. The Acute Physiological and Chronic Health Evaluation outcomes system was utilized to collect clinical, physiological, and outcome data on all adult patients in the medical ICU and to provide severity-adjusted outcome predictions. The model consists of a mandatory in-house daytime intensivist service that leads multidisciplinary rounds, and an in-house nighttime coverage is provided by nocturnist (nonintensivists) with current procedural skills in airways management, vascular access, and commitment to supervise house staff as needed. The intensivist continues to be available remotely at nighttime for house staff and consultation with the nocturnist. A backup intensivist is available for surge management.Results:First year yielded improved throughput (2428 patients/year to 2627 then 2724 at fifth year). Case mix stable at 53.7 versus 55.2. The ICU length of stay decreased from 4.7 days (predicted 4.25 days) to 3.8 days (4.15) in first year; second year: 3.63 days (4.29 days); third year: 3.24 days (4.37), fourth year: 3.34 days (4.45), and fifth year: 3.61 days (4.42). Intensive care unit <24 hours readmission remained at 1%; >24 hours increased from 4% to 6%. Low-risk monitoring admissions remained at an average 17% (benchmark 17.18%). Intensive care unit mortality improved with standardized mortality ration averaging at 0.84. Resident satisfaction surveys improved.Conclusions:Implementing an intensivist service with nighttime nocturnist staffing in a high-intensity large teaching hospital is feasible and improved ICU outcomes in a sustained manner that persisted after the initial implementation phase. The model resulted in reduced and sustained observed-to-predicted length of ICU stay.

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