Number of intensivists per bed is associated with efficiency of Dutch intensive care units

J Crit Care. 2021 Apr:62:223-229. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2020.12.008. Epub 2020 Dec 19.


Purpose: To measure efficiency in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and to determine which organizational factors are associated with ICU efficiency, taking confounding factors into account.

Materials and methods: We used data of all consecutive admissions to Dutch ICUs between January 1, 2016 and January 1, 2019 and recorded ICU organizational factors. We calculated efficiency for each ICU by averaging the Standardized Mortality Ratio (SMR) and Standardized Resource Use (SRU) and examined the relationship between various organizational factors and ICU efficiency. We thereby compared the results of linear regression models before and after covariate adjustment using propensity scores.

Results: We included 164,399 admissions from 83 ICUs. ICU efficiency ranged from 0.51-1.42 (average 0.99, 0.15 SD). The unadjusted model as well as the propensity score adjusted model showed a significant association between the ratio of employed intensivists per ICU bed and ICU efficiency. Other organizational factors had no statistically significant association with ICU efficiency after adjustment.

Conclusions: We found marked variability in efficiency in Dutch ICUs. After applying covariate adjustment using propensity scores, we identified one organizational factor, ratio intensivists per bed, having an association with ICU efficiency.

Keywords: ICU mortality; Intensive care unit; Organizational characteristics; Quality indicators; Resource use.

MeSH terms

  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*