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CDA 18-191 – HSR&D Study

Pre-Funded | New | Current | Completed | DRA | DRE | Portfolios/Projects | Centers | Career Development Projects
CDA 18-191
Optimizing Critical Care for Patients with Acute Respiratory Failure: A Mixed-Methods Study
Kelly C. Vranas MD
Portland, OR
Funding Period: July 2020 - June 2024


Background: Critical care is one of the most resource-intensive and costly components of hospital care. Substantial variability exists across VA hospitals in the use of critical care for patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF), suggesting a knowledge gap about when and how to best use the intensive care unit (ICU). Furthermore, overuse of the ICU for patients who do not need critical care contributes to rising healthcare costs and may cause harm. Significance: First, this proposal will help clarify whether ICU bed supply influences ICU bed utilization. This has important implications for healthcare delivery across the VHA, as it would indicate that decreasing ICU bed supply may help prevent unnecessary ICU use without sacrificing quality of care, thereby improving the overall value of critical care. Second, it will identify modifiable organizational factors and care processes that enable the provision of high-quality and efficient care outside the ICU. Third, it will lead to the development of a hospital- level intervention that will tailor care and guide triage strategies for Veterans with ARF. Innovation: For this study, Dr. Vranas has created a novel dataset that combines highly-granular data from over 100 geographically diverse hospitals within the VHA. This proposal is also innovative in its application of Human- Centered Design Thinking to develop scalable interventions to improve the value of critical care at VA. Specific Aims: 1) Evaluate the association of ICU bed supply with ICU admission, and the association of ICU admission with outcomes; 2) Use a positive-deviance approach to identify organizational factors and care processes associated with high-value care of patients with ARF; 3) Use Human-Centered Design Thinking to develop and pilot test an intervention that will guide ICU utilization and improve the value of ICU care. Methods: Aims 1 and 2 will use an explanatory sequential mixed methods approach to evaluate organizational factors and care processes associated with high value ICU care. In Aim 1a, Dr. Vranas will perform patient-level multivariable regression analyses to test the hypothesis that increased ICU bed supply is associated with increased odds of ICU admission. To test the hypothesis that ICU admission is not independently associated with improved outcomes (Aim 1b), Dr. Vranas will use propensity score techniques to evaluate the association of ICU utilization with outcomes including mortality and discharge to home. In Aim 2, Dr. Vranas will use a positive deviance approach to identify hospitals with high/low ICU utilization, and above/below average risk-adjusted 30- day mortality for patients with ARF. Using purposive sampling, she will conduct medical ethnography and semi- structured interviews of key stakeholders at approximately 12 select hospitals. She will use Rapid Qualitative Inquiry methods to characterize processes associated with outcomes observed in Aim 1. She will also utilize the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research to identify common domains that are modifiable and generalizable across healthcare settings. In Aim 3, Dr. Vranas will assemble a stakeholder taskforce and use Human-Centered Design Thinking to inform the development of an intervention designed to guide triage decisions for patients with ARF. She will pilot this intervention at the Portland VA hospital to evaluate its acceptability/feasibility, and to generate preliminary data for a future multicenter trial. Next Steps: This work will lead to the submission of multiple IIR proposals, including a hybrid effectiveness- implementation clustered randomized controlled trial of the refined intervention across multiple VA sites.

NIH Reporter Project Information:


Journal Articles

  1. Gershengorn HB, Vranas KC, Ouyang D, Cheng S, Rogers AJ, Schweiger L, Cooke CR, Slatore CG. Influence of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Author Sex and Manuscript Acceptance Rates among Pulmonary and Critical Care Journals. Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 2023 Feb 1; 20(2):215-225.
  2. Vranas KC, Golden SE, Nugent S, Valley TS, Schutz A, Duggal A, Seitz KP, Chang SY, Slatore CG, Sullivan DR, Hough CL, Mathews KS. The Influence of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Intensivists' Well-Being: A Qualitative Study. Chest. 2022 Aug 1; 162(2):331-345.
  3. Butler CR, Webster LB, Diekema DS, Gray MM, Sakata VL, Tonelli MR, Vranas KC. Perspectives of Triage Team Members Participating in Statewide Triage Simulations for Scarce Resource Allocation During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Washington State. JAMA Network Open. 2022 Apr 1; 5(4):e227639.
  4. Peltan ID, Caldwell E, Admon AJ, Attia EF, Gundel SJ, Mathews KS, Nagrebetsky A, Sahetya SK, Ulysse C, Brown SM, Chang SY, Goodwin AJ, Hope AA, Iwashyna TJ, Johnson NJ, Lanspa MJ, Richardson LD, Vranas KC, Angus DC, Baron RM, Haaland BA, Hayden DL, Thompson BT, Rice TW, Hough CL. Characteristics and Outcomes of US Patients Hospitalized With COVID-19. American Journal of Critical Care : An Official Publication, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. 2022 Mar 1; 31(2):146-157.
  5. Mathews KS, Seitz KP, Vranas KC, Duggal A, Valley TS, Zhao B, Gundel S, Harhay MO, Chang SY, Hough CL, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Prevention and Early Treatment of Acute Lung Injury (PETAL) Clinical Trials Network. Variation in Initial U.S. Hospital Responses to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. Critical care medicine. 2021 Jul 1; 49(7):1038-1048.
  6. Vranas KC, Golden SE, Mathews KS, Schutz A, Valley TS, Duggal A, Seitz KP, Chang SY, Nugent S, Slatore CG, Sullivan DR, Hough CL. The Influence of the COVID-19 Pandemic on ICU Organization, Care Processes, and Frontline Clinician Experiences: A Qualitative Study. Chest. 2021 Nov 1; 160(5):1714-1728.
  7. Kerlin MP, Costa DK, Davis BS, Admon AJ, Vranas KC, Kahn JM. Actions Taken by US Hospitals to Prepare for Increased Demand for Intensive Care During the First Wave of COVID-19: A National Survey. Chest. 2021 Aug 1; 160(2):519-528.
  8. Vranas KC, Lapidus JA, Ganzini L, Slatore CG, Sullivan DR. Association of Palliative Care Use and Setting With Health-care Utilization and Quality of Care at the End of Life Among Patients With Advanced Lung Cancer. Chest. 2020 Dec 1; 158(6):2667-2674.
  9. Vranas KC, Scott JY, Badawi O, Harhay MO, Slatore CG, Sullivan DR, Kerlin MP. The Association of ICU Acuity With Adherence to ICU Evidence-Based Processes of Care. Chest. 2020 Aug 1; 158(2):579-587.
Journal Other

  1. Sullivan DR, Golden SE, Disher N, Eden KB, Dieckmann NF, Vranas KC, Slatore CG. "Give Us More of a Chance to Participate in Decision Making": A Qualitative Study Evaluating a Treatment Decision Support Tool and Patients' Decision Making Experiences. [Abstract]. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. 2022 May 1;(C!02):A4863.
  2. Vranas KC, Scott JY, Kerlin MP, Chesnutt M, Sullivan DR, Slatore CG. Variability in Intensive Care Utilization Among Patients Admitted to VA Medical Centers with Acute Respiratory Failure. [Abstract]. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. 2021 Nov 1; 201(B21):A2796.
  3. Vranas KC, Scott JY, Kerlin MP, Sullivan DR, Slatore CG. Variability in Intensive Care Utilization among Patients Admitted to VA Medical Centers with Gastrointestinal Bleeding. [Abstract]. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. 2021 May 1;(203):A1678.
  4. Sullivan DR, Ganzini L, Delorit MA, Slatore CG, Vranas KC, Golden SE, Hansen L. Transcending silos and building relationships: A qualitative study of palliative care use and integration in a national health system. [Abstract]. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine. 2020 Nov 1; 201(B22):A2820.

DRA: Health Systems, Lung Disorders
DRE: TRL - Development
Keywords: Best Practices, Career Development
MeSH Terms: None at this time.

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