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Crit Care Med. 1999 Feb;27(2):270-4.

Effects of an organized critical care service on outcomes and resource utilization: a cohort study.

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Department of Surgery and Anesthesia, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA.



To determine whether the presence of an on-site, organized, supervised critical service improves care and decreases resource utilization.


The study compared two patient cohorts admitted to a surgical intensive care unit during the same period of time. The study cohort was cared for by an on-site critical care team supervised by an intensivist. The control cohort was cared for by a team with patient care responsibilities in multiple sites supervised by a general surgeon. The main outcome measures were duration of stay, resource utilization, and complication rate.


Study patients were general surgical patients in an academic medical center.


Despite having higher Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II scores, patients cared for by the critical care service spent less time in the surgical intensive care unit, used fewer resources, had fewer complications and had lower total hospital charges. The difference between the two cohorts was most evident in patients with the worst APACHE II score.


Critical care interventions are expensive and have a narrow safety margin. It is essential to develop structured and validated approaches to study the delivery of this resource. In this study, the critical care service model performed favorably both in terms of quality and cost.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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