Can Intensive Care Units be Compared?
Simple measures such as counting of numbers of patients and fatalities, do not provide either adequate or comprehensive data with regards to the performance of an intensive care unit (ICU), due to the great variations in case mix which includes age, diagnoses, severity of acute illness and co-morbidities. Consequently, complex scoring systems have emerged. These systems and in particular the Acute Physiology, Age, Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE) III were developed for intensive care units (ICU) for sone principal reason . This was to predict the risk of death for admitted patients. Subsequently to these, various authors have used these systems, although they were not specifically designed for this purpose, to evaluate the efficiency, clinical effectiveness and quality of care within each unit [2–6].
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