Prospectively defined indicators to improve the safety and quality of care for critically ill patients: a report from the Task Force on Safety and Quality of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine (ESICM)

Intensive Care Med. 2012 Apr;38(4):598-605. doi: 10.1007/s00134-011-2462-3. Epub 2012 Jan 26.


Objectives: To define a set of indicators that could be used to improve quality in intensive care medicine.

Methodology: An European Society of Intensive Care Medicine Task Force on Quality and Safety identified all commonly used key quality indicators. This international Task Force consisted of 18 experts, all with a self-proclaimed interest in the area. Through a modified Delphi process seeking greater than 90% consensual agreement from this nominal group, the indicators were then refined through a series of iterative processes.

Results: A total of 111 indicators of quality were initially found, and these were consolidated into 102 separate items. After five discrete rounds of debate, these indicators were reduced to a subset of nine that all had greater than 90% agreement from the nominal group. These indicators can be used to describe the structures (3), processes (2) and outcomes (4) of intensive care. Across this international group, it was much more difficult to obtain consensual agreement on the indicators describing processes of care than on the structures and outcomes.

Conclusion: This document contains nine indicators, all of which have a high level of consensual agreement from an international Task Force, which could be used to improve quality in routine intensive care practice.

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees
  • Critical Care / standards*
  • Critical Illness*
  • Delphi Technique
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Patient Safety*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*