Purpose of review: This review outlines the way the specialty of intensive care has expanded over the last decade in response to the changing population of hospital patients, being older with more comorbidities and having more complex interventions. The previous disjointed professional and geographical silos, providing patient care, are being challenged and a more patient focussed continuum of care is replacing it.
Recent findings: There have been many reports over the last few years, describing patient centred systems, constructed around the needs of the seriously ill, at-risk patient, including trauma systems and Medical Emergency Team-type systems. There is now general agreement that in most settings these systems are responsible for a significant reduction in mortality and serious adverse events such as cardiac arrest rates.
Summary: The implications for the move towards systems to improve patient outcome and decrease mortality in hospitals are having a significant impact on the way we practise medicine, resulting in an emphasis, among other things, of constructing our care around the needs of patients, rather than rigidly practice medicine from within our own tribal boundaries, for example professional boundaries, medical specialty boundaries and geographical boundaries.