Developing and implementing measures of quality of care in the intensive care unit

Curr Opin Crit Care. 2001 Aug;7(4):297-303. doi: 10.1097/00075198-200108000-00014.


As consumers, payers, and regulatory agencies require evidence regarding quality of care, the demand for intensive care unit (ICU) quality measures will likely grow. ICU providers and professional societies may need to partner with experts in quality measurement to develop and implement quality measures. This essay outlines the steps for developing and implementing quality measures and provides examples of potential ICU quality indicators. Outcome measures, in particular mortality rates, require risk adjustment, making data collection burdensome and broad implementation unlikely. On the other hand, structure and process measures may be feasible to implement broadly. Given the steps for developing quality measures outlined in this essay and the growing evidence in the literature regarding the impact of ICU care, the future should realize the development and implementation of ICU quality indicators that are rigorously developed and provide insights into opportunities to improve the quality of ICU care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / standards*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Quality of Health Care*