With Covid-19 spreading quickly, intensive care units (ICUs) across America are bracing for a wave of new patients.
Experts project up to 2 million ICUs visits during the outbreak. Nationwide, there are approximately 75,000 ICU beds, and on average 85% of them are already occupied.
Demand for ICUs will quickly outstrip supply—unless we’re smart about managing these limited resources.
In a NY Daily News op-ed, Dr. Carri W. Chan of Columbia Business School—an expert in hospital operations—outlines a proactive ICU strategy that will help hospitals and public health officials handle the surge.
According to Dr. Chan:
Many hospitals are already taking proactive measures, such as reducing demand for limited beds by canceling elective surgeries and expanding ICU capacity by adding additional staff to non-ICU beds.
Even with full utilization of these types of measures, capacity will fall short.
Providing proactive transfers to ICUs for the most at-risk patients can reduce overall mortality rates without adversely impacting ICU occupancy.
Based on a retrospective data set from 21 hospitals, my colleagues’ and my research has shown that proactive ICU care may reduce mortality rates by 10% while increasing the ICU occupancy rate by a single basis point only.
How can we achieve the benefits of proactive care?