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Quality improvement and cost savings after implementation of the Leapfrog intensive care unit physician staffing standard at a community teaching hospital

Parikh, Amay MD, MBA, MS; Huang, Shirley A. MD, MBA; Murthy, Praveen; Dombrovskiy, Viktor MD, PhD, MPH; Nolledo, Michael MD; Lefton, Ray DDS, MBA; Scardella, Anthony T. MD

Critical Care Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/CCM.0b013e31825b26ef
Feature Articles
Abstract

Background: Prior studies have shown that implementation of the Leapfrog intensive care unit physician staffing standard of dedicated intensivists providing 24-hr intensive care unit coverage reduces length of stay and in-hospital mortality. A theoretical model of the cost-effectiveness of intensive care unit physician staffing patterns has also been published, but no study has examined the actual cost vs. cost savings of such a program.

Objective: To determine whether improved outcomes in specific quality measures would result in an overall cost savings in patient care

Design: Retrospective, 1 yr before-after cohort study

Setting: A 15-bed mixed medical-surgical community intensive care unit

Patients: A total of 2,181 patients: 1,113 patients preimplementation and 1,068 patients postimplementation.

Intervention: Leapfrog intensive care unit physician staffing standard

Measurements: Intensive care unit and hospital length of stay, rates for ventilator-associated pneumonia and central venous access device infection, and cost of care.

Results: Following institution of the intensive care unit physician staffing, the mean intensive care unit length of stay decreased significantly from 3.5±8.9 days to 2.7±4.7 days, (p < .002). The frequency of ventilator-associated pneumonia fell from 8.1% to 1.3% (p < .0002) after intervention. Ventilator-associated pneumonia rate per 100 ventilator days decreased from 1.03 to 0.38 (p < .0002). After intervention, the frequency of the central venous access device infection events fell from 9.4% to 1.1% (p < .0002). Central venous access device infection rate per 1000 line days decreased from 8.49 to 1.69. The net savings for the hospital were $744,001. The 1-yr institutional return on investment from intensive care unit physician staffing was 105%.

Conclusions: Implementation of the Leapfrog intensive care unit physician staffing standard significantly reduced intensive care unit length of stay and lowered the prevalence of ventilator-associated pneumonia and central venous access device infection. A cost analysis yielded a 1-yr institutional return on investment of 105%. Our study confirms that implementation of the Leapfrog intensive care unit physician staffing model in the community hospital setting improves quality measures and is economically feasible.

Author Information

From the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, New Brunswick, NJ (AP, SAH, PM, VD, MN, ATS); and University Medical Center at Princeton, Princeton, NJ (MN, RL).

This manuscript represents original research and to our knowledge, a similar manuscript has not been published elsewhere. All of the authors have participated in the preparation of this manuscript. This submission has been reviewed and approved by all co-authors.

The authors have not disclosed any potential conflicts of interest.

For information regarding this article, E-mail: amayparikh@gmail.com

© 2012 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins