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Intensive Care Med. 2015 Jun;41(6):1089-98. doi: 10.1007/s00134-015-3792-3. Epub 2015 Apr 14.

Feasibility and utility of the use of real time random safety audits in adult ICU patients: a multicentre study.

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Intensive Care Unit, Hospital Universitario Joan XXIII, Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Pere Virgili, Rovira I Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain,



The two aims of this study were first to analyse the feasibility and utility (to improve the care process) of implementing a new real time random safety tool and second to explore the efficacy of this tool in core hospitals (those participating in tool design) versus non-core hospitals.


This was a prospective study conducted over a period of 4 months in six adult intensive care units (two of which were core hospitals). Safety audits were conducted 3 days per week during the entire study period to determine the efficacy of the 37 safety measures (grouped into ten blocks). In each audit, 50% of patients and 50% of measures were randomized. Feasibility was calculated as the proportion of audits completed over those scheduled and time spent, and utility was defined as the changes in the care process resulting from tool application.


A total of 1323 patient-days were analysed. In terms of feasibility, 87.6% of the scheduled audits were completed. The average time spent per audit was 34.5 ± 29 min. Globally, changes in the care process occurred in 5.4% of the measures analysed. In core hospitals, utility was significantly higher in 16 of the 37 measures, all of which were included in good clinical practice guidelines. Most of the clinical changes brought about by the tool occurred in the mechanical ventilation and haemodynamics blocks. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that changes in the care process in each block were associated with the core hospital variable, staffing ratios and severity of patient disease.


Real time safety audits improved the care process and adherence to the clinical practice guidelines and proved to be most useful in situations of high care load and in patients with more severe disease. The effect was greater in core hospitals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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