Rationale Hospitals are increasingly using critical care outreach teams (CCOTs) to respond to patients deteriorating outside intensive care units (ICUs). CCOT staffing is variable across hospitals and optimal team composition is unknown. Objectives To assess whether adding a critical care medicine trained physician assistant (CCM-PA) to a critical care outreach team (CCOT) impacts clinical and process outcomes. Methods We performed a retrospective study of two cohorts-one with a CCM-PA added to the CCOT (intervention hospital) and one with no staffing change (control hospital)-at two facilities in the same system. All adults in the emergency department and hospital for whom CCOT consultation was requested from October 1, 2012-March 16, 2013 (pre-intervention) and January 5-March 31, 2014 (post-intervention) were included. We performed differencein-differences analyses comparing pre- to post-intervention periods in the intervention versus control hospitals to assess the impact of adding the CCM-PA to the CCOT. Measurements and Main Results Our cohort consisted of 3,099 patients (control hospital: 792 pre- and 595 post-intervention; intervention hospital: 1114 pre- and 839 post-intervention). Intervention hospital patients tended to be younger, with fewer comorbidities, but with similar severity of acute illness. Across both periods, hospital mortality (p = 0.26) and hospital length of stay (p = 0.64) for the intervention vs control hospitals were similar, but time-to-transfer to the ICU was longer for the intervention hospital (13.3-17.0 vs 11.5-11.6 hours, p = 0.006). Using the differencein-differences approach, we found a 19.2% reduction (95 confidence interval: 6.7%-31.6%, p = 0.002) in the time-to-transfer to the ICU associated with adding the CCM-PA to the CCOT; we found no difference in hospital mortality (p = 0.20) or length of stay (p = 0.52). Conclusions Adding a CCM-PA to the CCOT was associated with a notable reduction in time-to-transfer to the ICU; hospital mortality and length of stay were not impacted.
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