Running an intensive care unit (ICU) can be difficult, and if you want some extra help, you may want to hire an ICU consultant. These professionals can help with a wide range of managerial elements related to this department. Here are five signs you should consider getting a consultant.
1. Your ICU Is Losing Money
The ICU tends to be the most expensive part of most hospitals. As a result, it can be even more challenging to run this department profitably than the rest of your hospital. That said, if you're running at a loss, it can be extremely difficult to see where you can bring in more income or where you can cut costs.
When you bring in a consultant, you have a third party who can look at the situation more objectively than you can. ICU consultants also have experience with these types of dilemmas. As a result, they may be able to bring in new ideas that you would not have thought of on your own.
2. You Are Transitioning From an Open to a Closed Unit
ICU's tend to be open or closed. Open units allow the primary care doctors of each patient to come in and take care of them. On the plus side, these doctors know the patient's medical history and their family. Unfortunately, in spite of that fact, research indicates that this is not the most efficient way to run an ICU.
Instead, the most efficient way is to have a closed unit. That's where outside doctors do not come in. Instead, patients receive treatment from intensivists or specialists who understand the challenges associated with intensive care.
Switching between these two models can be challenging. It requires a lot of communication, possibly the hiring of more staff members, and setting up new rosters for the various specialists. AN ICU consultant can help you navigate these changes.
3. You Want to Integrate New Technology
Just as an ICU consultant can help your department get through structural changes, they can also help you choose, adopt, and optimize new technology. In particular, there is technology that makes it possible for patients in the ICU to communicate.
The right technology can help even in cases where patients have their jaws wired shut or other issues that make traditional communication impossible. However, this technology is still in relative infancy stages, and as a result, you may need some guidance on what to select.
4. You Get a Lot of Negative Patient Reviews
If your hospital sends questionnaires to patients or their families after they are discharged, you should pay attention to what the reviews say. If you are constantly getting negative feedback on some element of your ICU or your hospital in general, you may want to take steps to remedy those situations.
However, it can be hard to know where to start. An ICU consultant can look at the reviews, extract meaningful data, and give you advice on the right direction to take.
5. You Need Help With Billing
Billing for critical care services can be difficult. You need to ensure that you are keeping adequate records so that you have the information you need to bill your patients accordingly. In addition, you also need to ensure that the care qualifies as critical care based on insurer's definition of that concept. In some cases, ICU departments bill for services that are considered to be evaluation and management rather than critical care.
If you have a lot of unpaid insurance claims or are spending too much time correcting errors, you may want to bring in a consultant. They can retrain billing and coding employees, identify issues, and help clean up billing processes in general.