OBJECTIVES: To comprehensively classify interventions performed by ICU clinical pharmacists and quantify cost avoidance generated through their accepted interventions.

DESIGN: A multicenter, prospective, observational study was performed between August 2018 and January 2019.

SETTING: Community hospitals and academic medical centers in the United States.

PARTICIPANTS: ICU clinical pharmacists.

INTERVENTIONS: Recommendations classified into one of 38 intervention categories (divided into six unique sections) associated with cost avoidance.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Two-hundred fifteen ICU pharmacists at 85 centers performed 55,926 interventions during 3,148 shifts that were accepted on 27,681 adult patient days and generated $23,404,089 of cost avoidance. The quantity of accepted interventions and cost avoidance generated in six established sections was adverse drug event prevention (5,777 interventions; $5,822,539 CA), resource utilization (12,630 interventions; $4,491,318), individualization of patient care (29,284 interventions; $9,680,036 cost avoidance), prophylaxis (1,639 interventions; $1,414,465 cost avoidance), hands-on care (1,828 interventions; $1,339,621 cost avoidance), and administrative/supportive tasks (4,768 interventions; $656,110 cost avoidance). Mean cost avoidance was $418 per intervention, $845 per patient day, and $7,435 per ICU pharmacist shift. The annualized cost avoidance from an ICU pharmacist is $1,784,302. The potential monetary cost avoidance to pharmacist salary ratio was between $3.3:1 and $9.6:1.

CONCLUSIONS: Pharmacist involvement in the care of critically ill patients results in significant avoidance of healthcare costs, particularly in the areas of individualization of patient care, adverse drug event prevention, and resource utilization. The potential monetary cost avoidance to pharmacist salary ratio employing an ICU clinical pharmacist is between $3.3:1 and $9.6:1.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

Published in Critical Care Explorations, v. 3, issue 12, e0594.

Copyright © 2021 The Authors

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


ccx_1_1_2021_11_05_rech_cce-d-21-00545_sdc1.pdf (679 kB)
Supplemental digital content