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J Crit Care. 2008 Jun;23(2):236-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2007.11.006. Epub 2008 Apr 18.

Assessing organizational performance in intensive care units: a French experience.

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Centre for Medical Research, Medicine, Health and Society (INSERM U750/CNRS 8169), 94276 Le Kremlin-Bicêtre cedex, France. <>



The objective of the study was to assess and to explain variation of organizational performance in intensive care units (ICUs).


This was a prospective multicenter study.


The study involved 26 ICUs located in the Paris area, France, participating in a regional database.


Data were collected through answers of 1000 ICU personnel to the Culture, Organization, and Management in Intensive Care questionnaire and from the database. Organizational performance was assessed through a composite score related to 5 dimensions: coordination and adaptation to uncertainty, communication, conflict management, organizational change, and organizational learning, Skills developed in relationship with patients and their families. Statistical comparisons between ICUs were performed by analysis of variance with a Scheffé pairwise procedure. A multilevel regression model was used to analyze both individual and structural variables explaining differences of ICU's organizational performance.


The organizational performance score differed among ICUs. Some cultural values were negatively correlated with a high level of organizational performance, suggesting improvement potential. Several individual and structural factors were also related to the quality of ICU organization, including absence of burnout, older staff, satisfaction to work, and high workload (P < .02 for each).


A benchmarking approach can be used by ICU managers to assess the organizational performance of their ICU based on a validated questionnaire. Differences are mainly explained by cultural values and individual well-being factors, introducing new requirements for managing human resources in ICUs.

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