Intensivist Staffing: Evolving Challenges and Solutions

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Abstract

Increases in critical care utilization related to aging of our population, static supplies of critical care specialists, and reduced availability of physicians in training to staff intensive care units (ICUs) have led many institutions to reevaluate their ICU prescribing provider staffing plans. The epidemiology of critical care staffing needs, regulations, requirements, standards, and professional society staffing recommendations are reviewed and the components of a prescribing provider staffing plan are described along with their costs. Factors that impact staffing costs including the availability of intensivist extenders, electronic support, and telemedicine tools that impact the efficiency of care delivery are evaluated in the context of staffing plan evaluation. Financial modeling is used to compare the costs of common prescribing provider staffing plans for typical referral medical center ICUs, community hospital ICUs, and rural health centers that care for the critically ill.

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