What is Critical Care?
You are probably saying to yourself…I know what cancer is and what heart disease is, but what is critical care? Critical care is the complex care provided to severely ill and injured patients over minutes to hours to days to months in an attempt to keep them alive and restore them to the way they were before they became severely ill or injured. Critical care is required for all ages and for lots of conditions including, but not limited to, trauma, cardiac arrest, burns, stroke, traumatic brain injury, respiratory failure, premature births, infections and sepsis, and many other conditions. Millions of patients and their families are affected by these conditions each year. As a result, critical care accounts for nearly 40% of hospital costs and patient hospital days.
Critical care is delivered in many locations including the emergency department, the operating room, many types of intensive care units (10 at the University of Michigan), and even on the battlefield. It is practiced and provided by clinicians in 13 medical specialties and by numerous other provides including nurses, paramedics, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists, pharmacists and others.
Sounds like a big problem, right? I bet you are surprised by the number and types of patients affected and the cost. Despite this, there have been no real day to day game changing ideas in the last 30-40 years that have significantly improved outcomes. Doesn’t sound right? Well….its not.
Welcome to the Michigan Center for Integrative Research in Critical Care (MCIRCC) at the University of Michigan where our team is committed to transforming Critical Care through a unique formula of:
Innovation: We are taking a boundless approach on re-imagining every aspect of critical care, ranging from the basic science of the diseases responsible for critical care to how we diagnose and treat every aspect of the patient and their family. No idea is too far fetched to consider if it's transformative and disruptive. Ever heard of a Grand Challenge….we got em!
Integration: We are bringing the Team, the Team, the Team to attack the problem. This isn’t any ordinary team. We’ve busted outside the traditional walls and silos of the Medical School. Our teams are strategically integrated to include all types of critical care health care providers with basic scientists, engineers of many disciplines (chemical, mechanical, electrical, biomedical, etc.), computer and data scientists, and others. Getting fresh eyes and talent on problems can be a game changer!
Entrepreneurship: Transformative life saving technologies don’t get to the patient’s bedside by themselves. They require an understanding of intellectual property, regulatory challenges, the market, and many other areas that well….traditional research approaches are lacking. Without development and integration of commercialization strategies into our problem solving, serious delays can occur adding years to the journey of getting an idea to impact. Our ideas are informed and infused with serious entrepreneurship and commercialization expertise at very early stages making our ability to develop new companies and work with industry partners a key ingredient to saving lives.
Let me invite you to partner with us to transform critical care through these strategies. Please check out our website and organization to learn more about our Catalyst Team and Core Collaborative services which include a unique big data platform, pre-clinical operative and ICU facilities of high fidelity disease models, a clinical research unit, commercialization coaching, a proposal development unit, and others. These assets are specifically designed to lower the barrier to live-saving multidisciplinary team science and to move your idea forward no matter where it is on the innovation roadmap.
Kevin R. Ward, MD
Professor of Emergency Medicine and Biomedical Engineering