This article discusses efforts being made by multiple stakeholders to improve quality and safety in intensive care units (ICUs). The Leapfrog Group (Washington, DC), a consortium of purchasers, is reaching for quality by implementing safety standards. One standard, staffing ICUs with intensivists, is associated with a 30% reduction in hospital mortality and a 40% reduction in ICU mortality. While Leapfrog is addressing quality improvements on a structural level, JCAHO is developing empiric measures for ICU quality, which are being beta tested, to complement Leapfrogs' efforts. JCAHO used rigorously defined processes to develop and refine these measures. These measures include deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis, peptic ulcer disease prophylaxis, catheter-related blood stream infections, mortality and length of stay - APACHE III risk adjustment. Finally, ICU providers at Hopkins implemented an 8-step unit-based safety program. This comprehensive program is run at the unit level, works to improve safety culture, addresses staff safety concerns, partners hospital leaders with unit workers, helps staff implement improvement initiatives, uses rigorous data collection methods, and easily disseminated in other clinical areas. Providers can frame their efforts after 3 fundamental concepts from these initiatives: create a culture that supports quality and safety, standardize work processes by reducing complexity and using independent redundancy, and automate. The take home message is, when we come to work every day, we must be committed to quality and safety, and lead our teams to do the same.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine