Vanderbilt takes its ICU Recovery Center nationwide

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Vanderbilt University Medical Center first launched its ICU Recovery Clinic in 2012.

Vanderbilt University Medical Center opened its ICU Recovery Center in 2012, and now it’s taking the lessons it’s learned to launch a network of similar clinics across the country.

The ICU recovery clinic in Nashville, Tennessee, provides multidisciplinary follow-up care to patients who were recently in intensive care, according to the organization's website. Few of the patients have primary care doctors, and many are uninsured, Carla Sevin, M.D., director of the ICU Recovery Center, told Nashville Public Radio.The program aims to provide coordinated care to patients following a stay in the ICU to ensure they have a safe transition home or to a post-acute care facility. 

The ICU Recovery Center’s team also flags patients for potential mental health or cognitive issues and coordinates access to behavioral health care when needed. In addition to Sevin, the team includes an ICU nurse practitioner, a neuropsychologist, a pharmacist and a patient case manager, according to the site.

When the center first opened, it was just the second of its kind in the country, Sevin told the publication. Since then, several similar clinics have popped up across the nation, though they’re fairly isolated. That inspired the idea to pool resources, Sevin said. The network will include 11 partners in the U.S. and United Kingdom for now, but that number is likely to grow, as Vanderbilt often receives calls from across the country and the world about the program, according to the article.

"We want to get all that knowledge together, figure out what works, what doesn’t, how can we best serve our patients with the least amount of cost and effort on the side of hospital systems," Sevin told Nashville Public Radio.

RELATED: 'Intensive care coordination' saves $14M in superuser costs

Coordinated care reduces costs across the hospital, as it connects patients with the care they need most, including preventive screenings. Despite the noted benefits, only half of patients actually have access to coordinated care.

Patients in intensive care units are more likely to undergo costly procedures, even if the ICU is not the ideal place for their treatment. New approaches in the ICU, like Vanderbilt’s, are improving outcomes, however. Some providers are taking a more “family-centered” strategy, while others are embracing telemedicine.