In keeping with the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s (SCCM) long tradition of supporting junior investigators in their work to advance critical care and patient outcomes, the 2011 SCCM Vision Grant was awarded to Christopher W. Seymour, MD, MSc, for his research on tiered regionalization of critical care.
Seymour is using a data set from King County to simulate triaging patients to referral centers or smaller hospitals based upon how sick they are when they present to emergency medical services personnel. His work will predict triage impact on hospitals, emergency medical service (EMS) agencies and patients.
“Our research will help policy makers, clinicians and researchers develop critical care systems that provide the right critical care to the right patient at the right hospital,” explained Seymour.
Seymour was grateful to receive the $50,000 Vision Grant. “As a junior faculty member, funding from foundations and critical care societies such as SCCM is crucial to us accomplishing our preliminary research,” he said. A colleague on the project, Jeremy Kahn, MD, MS, was a SCCM Vision Grant recipient several years ago.
“As a new junior faculty member, the Vision Grant provides terrific support. This research money is important for start-up funds, and will help smooth my transition from fellow to faculty in an increasingly competitive funding environment. Prior scholars translated this support from the Society into important critical care innovations, and was I honored to be selected among this group,” Seymour concluded.
Currently Seymour is an assistant professor in the departments of critical care and emergency medicine at the Clinical Research, Investigation, and Systems Modeling of Acute Illness (CRISMA) Center at the University of Pittsburgh. When the Vision Grant was awarded, he was an acting instructor in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Washington, where he previously was a fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine. Seymour earned his master’s of science from the University of Washington School of Public Health and his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Those who recommended Seymour for the grant predicted his success based on his ability to obtain independent funding and turn out research worthy of publication in premier medical journals. His formal training in epidemiology and biostatistics rounds out his qualifications. His mentors also noted that, as a principal investigator, Seymour has shown a clear ability to lead his team to effectively access and analyze the large dataset. He has already invested significant time and energy into the creation of a merged database network and has demonstrated ability in analyzing it.
“This proposal builds on an evolving career path for this investigator and establishes his niche within a group of like-minded colleagues studying pre-hospital emergency care,” said Lee Morrow, MD, MS. “Specifically, they are building this project around a novel triage score for out-of-hospital patients at risk for critical illness which they recently developed and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.”
According to Seymour, the concept of regionalization has been discussed by multiple critical care societies and studied by researchers for almost a decade. The Institute of Medicine called for implementation and maintenance of regionalization and coordination of emergency care. He said that there has been mostly conceptual and comparative work, but to date there are no data on how to implement or maintain a regionalized system or on the consequences for hospitals and patients.
“Our research should provide estimates of changes in hospital census, the impact on EMS agencies, and patient outcomes, if we allocated different critical care patients to different hospitals with this regionalized method,” Seymour concluded. “My critical care colleagues are planning demonstration projects, but they lack preliminary data to speak with hospitals, patient groups and government stakeholders about potentially doing this type of demonstration project.”
Seymour’s project embodies SCCM’s Right Care, Right Now campaign. Seymour proposes that the models should assist in delivering the right resources at the right time and in the right place. The project also supports the Society's goal to reduce variability in the quality of critical care by moving such patients into fewer centers, which in turn will have more standardized practices. Additionally, the effort embraces SCCM’s objective of integrating critical care delivery systems.
Through the Vision Grant SCCM sponsors research efforts that will ultimately improve patient care in the intensive care unit, while helping expand and advance the Society’s four goals. The grant is available to both junior and established investigators.