ICU of the Future: New Combined Intensivist Program Launching Across SolutionHealth Hospitals


Seeing a need for it in our communities, SolutionHealth is further developing the Intensive Care Units at both Elliot Health System and Southern New Hampshire Health. To meet the growing need to have critical care services available close to home, SolutionHealth is developing a new combined intensivist program that is expected to launch across SolutionHealth in the fall-one clinician group that serves the ICUs on both acute care campuses.

That means Intensivists will provide round-the-clock care to our critically ill patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at both campuses. Data shows that hospitals with ICUs managed exclusively by board-certified intensivists have significantly lower mortality rates.

“Having a doctor available at the bedside or in the hospital 24 hours a day, creates enhanced support for high acuity and intensity of care being provided” Dr. Jennifer Duprey, DO, MPH, Medical Director of the ICU at The Elliot and Southern New Hampshire Health, explains.

Historically Southern‘s ICU has been covered by hospitalists and medical specialists particularly pulmonologists and more recently, moving to a hybrid of Intensive care physicians coupled with Nurse practitioners to create enhanced focus on ICU care. Learning from the experience at Southern and Elliot, clinical leadership across both campuses have determined that we would like to elevate the presence of Intensivists to best serve patients.

“The goal is to grow an ICU in acuity and competency that can support patients from any clinical service,” Dr. Duprey says.

The SolutionHealth intensivists are physicians who are required to be board-certified in critical care medicine. These Intensivists will provide their attention to the comprehensive evaluation and management of the critically ill patients in the ICU. They will also ensure that a smooth, efficient continuum of care is provided and that all of the patients’ needs are addressed.

To build out the program, Dr. Duprey says five full-time Intensivists are being hired. There will also be providers who are in-house 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies and care for patients in the ICU at each campus. In total, the new SolutionHealth Critical Care group will have 11 Intensivists who will provide in-house services at both locations 24/7.

This group of providers will work and be credentialed at both The Elliot and Southern. The combined Intensive Care Units will be able to accommodate a total of 27 patients, 16 at The Elliot and 11 at Southern. Dr. Duprey says protocols, procedures, and skill sets will be the same so that providers can easily move between the two campuses.

Just some of the benefits associated with this intensivist approach include: increase survival rates, reduced morbidity, reduced ICU length of stay, fewer clinical/procedural complications, reduced costs per case (for patients and SolutionHealth), improved patient and staff satisfaction, and a higher focus on patient safety.

“By creating a combined Intensivist Program, we’re giving SolutionHealth the ability to grow as much as we would like,” Duprey says about the benefit of this addition. “We will be able to perform more high-risk procedures and care for really sick patients. It also adds an extra layer of comfort for those service lines that want to take care of those patients. Of course, they never want to take their patient to the ICU, but our providers will know it’s available should they need ICU support.”

This investment in Critical Care services allows all SolutionHealth Hospitals to care for the critically ill patients in their own communities. Often, small community hospitals are forced to transfer their highest acuity patients to a tertiary center outside of the community, placing additional stress on patients and their families during an already-stressful time. By creating a new SolutionHealth Intensivist program, our patients can rest assured that they are getting the highest-quality and most knowledgeable care right here in southern New Hampshire.