Collaboration improves critical care around the world.
Say you live in or are traveling in Africa, Asia, or South America and are rushed to a hospital with a serious illness or after a serious injury. Even if you end up in the intensive care unit, there is no guarantee that the physician, nurse, or clinician who will treat you has been trained in how to care for critically ill or injured patients.
America isn’t immune to this problem. With shortages of physicians specifically trained as intensivists (the term used to describe a clinician who is board certified in critical care) and with some local hospitals tight on resources, your experience in the United States may be no different.
Believing that knowledge is the best medicine, last year, we at the Society of Critical Care Medicine trained more than 9,000 non-intensivist clinicians around the world, including nurses, respiratory therapists, and pharmacists, in how to care for critically ill or injured patients when an intensivist isn’t available. Our Fundamentals family of courses assess the knowledge level of participants and then train them to be able to provide a basic level of care.
However, even as the globe seems to shrink, we aren’t able to reach everyone, not fulfill all the need for education. In January 2011, we launched a new Website called Learn ICU that sorts all our educational resources by 24 different topical areas. Health care professionals can easily access all we know about a subject, witness case-based simulations, attend best-practice seminars, and then quickly apply what they’ve learned to a patient’s care.
Our Chicago area-based nonprofit organization has 16,000 members in more than 100 countries. Our membership comprises all types of medical professionals — doctors, nurses, clinicians, pharmacists, therapists — and their needs vary. Since we’re a small organization of 60 employees with limited resources ourselves, we wondered how we could tailor the right medical information and educational resources to the right audiences to further improve critical care. We had been sending the same information to all members without regard to their specialties or focus, which we believed limited the impact.
IBM and IBM Business Partner RiverPoint Solutions Group had the answer: analytics. With marketing analytics tools implemented by RiverPoint, we were able to learn more about our members, mine the data we compiled, and better respond to our members’ needs. Even within our offices it comes down to collaboration. One manager can look at who’s responding to a particular resource and develop further tactics to reach that group or its individual members. Within our tool set, that information can be passed on to a specialist who is implementing those strategies. We become more efficient and work smarter, contributing to our goal of providing the right care at exactly the right moment to get the optimal outcome for patients.
Our members deserved this kind of investment of resources to help make them more effective.
There is no end to our their dedication. About two years ago, an earthquake hit Haiti while we were holding our congress in Miami. Paying for their own travel and supplies, our members boarded planes for Haiti and began providing care to the critically injured. But that wasn’t enough for many of them. A group returned later and led our fundamentals course for doctors and nurses in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic. They even trained trainers, who were then able to extend the education to other clinicians. We believe that that’s had a significant impact on the quality of care being provided to patients in that part of the world, as well as their quality of life.
Now that’s collaboration!