Strong growth was the hallmark of 2015. From expanding quality improvement activities to increased participation in educational programs, the year was highly successful in moving the Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) toward its goals. The organization’s goals are set forth in a strategic plan that is continually reviewed and updated as tactics are refined to move the Society toward its mission of improving care for the critically ill and injured.
As noted in last year’s report, the Society continues to expand its quality improvement initiatives. Learning what key processes can be consistently maintained to improve care is vital so that they may be shared and implemented at hospitals worldwide. To accomplish this, 2015 saw a wide range of improvement collaboratives for our Surviving Sepsis Campaign and the newer ICU Liberation initiative, which is focused on the ABCDEF Bundle. A catheter-associated urinary tract infection reduction project also was launched. These activities, funded jointly by the Society and supporters with similar goals, lay the groundwork for future educational initiatives. We also concluded the first phase of a project to disseminate patient-centered outcomes research and began working on an initiative related to better understanding alarm and alert fatigue. The Society launched a pilot program to improve sepsis care in resource-limited nations, which will take place at Gitwe Hospital, in the Southern Province of Rwanda. Of course, at the root of these types of projects are the clinical practice guidelines and policy statements produced by the Society’s American College of Critical Care Medicine. In 2015, three manuscripts were published, with two more anticipated by 2016 Congress, February 20–24, 2016. While growth is hard to quantify in this area, annual expenditures on quality improvement activities increased by nearly $1 million since 2012.
Programs developed by and provided to the membership are a cornerstone activity of SCCM and grew significantly in 2015. The annual Critical Care Congress continues to be SCCM’s largest single activity and signature event, and trends here are upward. Attendance was much stronger than anticipated, and abstract submissions, perhaps a more important indicator of the popularity of the scientific program, also continued to grow. Industry support was one of the few areas in which SCCM experienced a decline. This had been anticipated due to increased regulations, and it had no effect on overall operations.
In addition, the Society launched popular extracorporeal membrane oxygenation courses and expanded its pediatric and adult ultrasound offerings at home and abroad. Participation in our Fundamentals programs also grew, reaching a new record of nearly 14,000 people successfully completing the courses, representing a 17% increase in revenue over the prior year. Board preparation/review programs continued to be popular, especially the online educational offerings, which grew significantly. In-person learning events remained stable. Our other online offerings (webcasts and On Demand learning) also saw record usage, which is aligned with a recently completed survey indicating that members favor more online educational opportunities.
Patient Support and Research
Every year millions of people survive critical illness, but despite the efforts of their ICU team, many are left with ongoing problems. The current healthcare system does not meet the needs of these survivors or their families during their long recoveries. To address this issue, in 2015 SCCM launched a new program to improve patient and family support after critical illness through the THRIVE Initiative. The winners of the THRIVE Innovation Award and a $50,000 Research Grant to Accelerate Recovery will both be presented at 2016 Congress in Orlando, Florida. In addition, a THRIVE Peer Support Collaborative has been launched to foster an international network of in-person support groups linking survivors of critical illness. An online support group is also planned. The Society is investing $1 million to develop this important new program.
For the past several years, the Society has been working to improve and expand its programs related to all forms of research in critical care. To that end, 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 President Craig Coopersmith, MD, FCCM, also spearheaded closer interactions with various governmental bodies 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.
Membership and Finances
Paid membership in the Society reached a record high as the year came to a close, with more student, trial and other discounted/complimentary members transferring into full paid status. Total membership remained near 16,000, as the Council began considering changes to the membership structure to better align value with member needs and wants.
Because of the considerable growth in the number of Society programs, an internal reorganization effort to align activities with business lines was completed in 2015. This new structure helps to focus work in related areas, giving a better understanding of the impact of similarly targeted programs and coordinating efforts with a like interest. Each business line is led by two Council members who partner with two senior staff members to help each business line innovate, coordinate and communicate.
Total operating revenue increased by 10% to $17.4 million, representing growth across the programs noted above. This resulted in net revenue from operations of $1.6 million. Non-operating income (primarily investment income) was tepid, mirroring market performance. Overall, total Society assets rose to $29 million, of which approximately $5 million was fixed assets (building, land, and equipment) net of depreciation. The Society continued to have no long-term debt and remains in excellent financial condition.
SCCM enjoys support from not only a large, multiprofessional and international membership, but also from organizations with similar goals and objectives. We continue to thank the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the American Hospital Association, the Health Research & Educational Trust, Adventist Health System, the Hellman Foundation and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for joining us and providing financial support to improve patient care. Additionally, our many society and industry partners at home and abroad join with us to expand the reach of SCCM’s programs, and for this we are very thankful. And finally, our thanks go out to the nearly two thousand SCCM volunteers who develop and implement these programs to improve patient care. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.
As we begin 2016, an exciting array of activities is planned and, through our combined efforts, we will make significant progress in improving care of the critically ill and injured.
My best wishes for a safe, productive and enjoyable 2016!