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Increased MICU Staffing Saves Lives

"While we did assess hospital variable costs, we do caution readers that these are simple, crude measures and are not the same as cost effectiveness," Netzer explained in an interview. "Determining the return on resource allocation in terms of Quality Adjusted Life Years or comparative effectiveness are substantial endeavors and are outside of the scope of our study. We would like to pursue those analyses moving forward."

Simply spending money won't achieve MICU's results, researchers caution: "It is unlikely that untargeted expenditures of additional resources in an ICU would result in patient improvements."

Moreover, many hospitals will be unable to replicate MICU's success, especially given the additional cost. "It's neither feasible nor likely that every ICU in the U.S. would reorganize according to ACCCM Level I recommendations and see dramatic improvements." Netzer says. "However, organization to optimal Level I guidelines … should be seriously considered by urban, tertiary care medical centers. This is especially true of the main hospital within a medical system."

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