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Review

Year in review 2011: Critical Care - Resource Management

Pablo Adolfo Perez d'Empaire and Andre Carlos Kajdacsy-Balla Amaral*

Author Affiliations

Department of Critical Care Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Office D1 08, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4G 3K9

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Critical Care 2012, 16:244  doi:10.1186/cc11821

Published: 10 December 2012

Abstract

Increasing complexity and costs are a fundamental problem in critical care medicine, leading researchers to study opportunities and threats to continue to provide high-quality care in a more efficient health system. Over the past decades, we have learned from industrial methods that quality improvement and resource management can help achieve these results. Last year, Critical Care published a number of papers that highlight key points of critical care resource management. Each of these is grouped into one of three broad categories, based on domains of quality: (a) outcomes, in which we review long-term outcome data with an emphasis on the aging population, strategies to help mitigate the psychological burden of critical care, adverse events, and the appropriate use of resources, such as prolonged mechanical ventilation and intensive care unit (ICU) beds; (b) processes of care, in which we review variability in the provision of critical care, owing to gender, insurance status, and delays in ICU admission; knowledge translation studies in critical care; goal-directed therapy for postoperative patients and decision-making in the ICU; and (c) structure, in which we review strategies to improve quality through changes in design and the structural limitations to provide care in resource-limited settings.