From the launch of an outreach effort to former intensive care unit (ICU) patients, to continued expansion of quality improvement activities and growth in our core educational programs, the year was highly successful in all respects. These achievements made significant progress toward attainment of SCCM’s strategic goals.
Patient and Family Outreach
Since the Society’s founding in 1970, most of SCCM’s programs have been focused on educating clinicians and expanding the clinical and scientific knowledge base in the field. Once the patient left the ICU, the critical care providers’ role in the patient’s life had largely come to a conclusion. However, in 2012 we began to investigate what patients’ lives were actually like after they no longer needed ICU care. SCCM convened a broad-based task force with representatives from 21 professional associations and health systems involved in the provision of critical care, post-ICU care, and rehabilitation services. From that work SCCM published two ground-breaking articles clearly identifying Post-Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS). The first major effort to address this topic was the launch of SCCM’s ICU Liberation campaign, which recognizes that patients can suffer from the effects of pain, agitation and delirium even after they have left the ICU. The program focuses on minimizing damage to patients by ensuring clinicians follow the ABCDEF bundles to include early mobility and family involvement. Early in 2016, the SCCM Council (the organization’s governing board) invested $1 million to launch the THRIVE initiative, a direct-to-patient outreach effort to support patients and their families after ICU discharge. A key component of this program is an international collaborative effort to inform the Society in the development of resources for patients and their families. A cadre of volunteers have already made significant progress in this area. View the early results of their work at MyICUCare.org/Thrive. New resources are being added regularly, including patient education videos addressing ICU discharge and wellness after the ICU stay.
After nearly 16 years of concentrated effort by the Society, sepsis is more recognized by both healthcare providers and the public than ever before. This year the Society partnered with the CDC and other major agencies and organizations to spread the message of our Surviving Sepsis Campaign. Patients and families also became more aware and the press noted sepsis was responsible for the deaths of highly prominent people like Mohammed Ali and Patty Duke. But SCCM’s efforts in this area are far from over. We are now working on a special project in Gitwe, Rwanda, with generous sponsorship from the Hellman Foundation and the King Baudouin Foundation, to develop screening and care strategies for sepsis in resource-limited settings. Additionally, at the upcoming Critical Care Congress, SCCM will release the 4th edition of the Surviving Sepsis Campaign guidelines, in partnership with our colleagues at the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine. We hope you will join us for this event, either in-person or at our first-ever, all-day Live from Congress broadcast. Live from Congress will start on Monday, January 23, 2017, at 8:00 a.m. Hawaii-Aleutian Time (1 p.m. Eastern Time, 12:00 p.m. Central Time, 10 a.m. Pacific Time). You can view Live from Congress at sccm.org/live.
While SCCM led the way in improving care of septic patients, it is important to mention the contributions of patients and their families in making this a worldwide healthcare priority, including the work of the Sepsis Alliance and the Rory Staunton Foundation. The work of these foundations stemmed from the tragic loss of children, and to further the science and clinical practice in this area, in 2016 SCCM launched a new project to develop a clinical practice guideline specific to pediatric sepsis.
SCCM members gravitated toward a career caring for critically ill patients because of the fast-paced, high-tech, and challenging work it provided. While these life-and-death struggles can be exhilarating, they are also physically and emotionally draining. With ongoing workforce shortages and pressure to do more with less, this fast-paced, demanding, and stressful environment, we now know, also leads to burnout. In 2016 SCCM, as part of the Critical Care Societies Collaborative (with the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians) focused on this challenge. In July, we jointly published a “Call to Action” that identifies strategies for prevention, including promoting healthy work environments, stress reduction techniques, mindfulness training, and meditation. The Call to Action has spurred many articles, blogs, tweets, and the development of other focused interventions to promote a healthy workenvironment in the ICU, which mitigates and prevents burnout. As a next step, our organizations will host a summit to prioritize the most promising interventions that help prevent burnout in in our field. The summit will bring together multi-professional experts from the fields of medicine, psychology, sociology, occupational health, nursing, and allied health. We also seek to develop a research agenda to further identify causes, solutions and actionable tools to better address this challenge that decimates our workforce.
Educational programs developed by and provided to the membership are a cornerstone activity of SCCM and these grew significantly in 2016. The annual Critical Care Congress continues to be SCCM’s largest single activity and trends here are all upward. Attendance in Orlando achieved another record and abstract submissions also continued to show strong growth. At the Orlando Congress we debuted the concept of Research Snapshot Theaters, in place of the out-moded poster boards, and these were very positively received by both presenters and registrants. Industry support rebounded from what had been a decline in prior years. In addition, the Society expanded the number of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) courses and held its pediatric and adult ultrasound offerings at home and abroad. Also, the Society held its first Current Concepts course outside of the U.S., in Shenzhen, China. SCCM’s Fundamentals programs grew, reaching a new annual record of nearly 15,000 people successfully completing the courses, while revenue was depressed due to economic conditions in several regions outside the U.S. During the year, the Council funded an update to the popular Fundamental Critical Care Support (FCCS) course which will be released in 2017, along with the development of a new fundamentals training program focused on the obstetric patient. Board review programs continued to be popular, especially the online educational offerings, and we held our first board review courses in Columbia, Bolivia, and Ecuador, further expanding our international line-up of these programs. In consideration of changing learning modalities coupled with changes in the board recertification process, the SCCM Council also reorganized the Board Preparation business line and charged an oversight committee to realign all programs in this domain to better meet future member needs. These changes will begin implementation later in 2017. In September 2017, SCCM will offer its comprehensive ICU Liberation course. Held in partnership with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, this two-day, simulation course will now also integrate instruction for applying the ABCDEF bundle for pediatrics.
Over the past several years, the Society has increased its focus on research. The number of research grants both given by and to the Society, has increased exponentially. Research submissions for presentation at the upcoming 2017 Congress grew by 50% over last year’s already record number. Our quality improvement programs have gone from basic collaborative learning projects, to data collecting, analysis and publishing.
As previously reported, in 2015 the Council established the SCCM-Weil Research Trust with a $1 million transfer into the fund designated to support research programs. This immediately made available an additional $50,000 Vision Grant. Also, many changes are underway at the Society’s journals, which publish the top research in the field, and a stronger research emphasis has been made by the Congress Program Planning Committee to ensure that the latest research is presented at this annual event. SCCM leaders also held meetings with various governmental agencies in an effort to increase their awareness of critical care issues and thereby increase their ability to direct research activities and governmental programs to key areas of need. Finally, the Society’s recently formed Research Section grew to approximately 1,700 members and the Council allocated funding to launch a research network designed to coordinate and support investigators.
Membership and Finances
Paid membership in the Society continued to grow and reached a record high. Total membership was over 16,000, as the leadership considered changes to the membership structure to better align value with member needs and wants. It is anticipated that a new membership structure will be introduced in 2017. SCCM’s sections also continued to grow and two sections (Neuroscience and Emergency Medicine) earned designated seats on the Council. Many sections are highly active and members are encouraged to join and participate.
While revenues from traditional program sources like the annual Congress showed strong gains in 2016, particularly notable were the growth of grants and contracts related to research and quality improvement initiatives. Total operating revenue increased to $19 million, continuing the Society’s 10% annual operating revenue growth. This resulted in net revenue from operations of $1.72 million. When combined with non-operating revenue (primarily investment income) the Society’s overall net revenue was $2.6 million. These earnings increased total SCCM net assets to approximately $26 million, of which $4.6 million was non-liquid (building, equipment and furnishings). The Society continued to have no debt and remains in excellent financial condition.
As you can see, SCCM has many growing programs all designed to achieve the Society’s mission to improve care of the critically ill and injured. I hope you will join me in congratulating the members of our Creative Community who volunteer their time to make these achievements possible. SCCM also enjoys support from not only a large, multiprofessional, international membership, but also from organizations with similar goals. We thank the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and their related agencies, the Hellman Foundation and numerous other contributors, large and small, who support our vital mission. Additionally, we are grateful for our many society and industry partners that join with us to expand the reach of SCCM’s programs. Without the support and contributions of all of these individuals and organizations, none of this would be possible. On behalf of the entire Society, thank you. Together we are making a difference!