Moving the science of quality improvement in critical care medicine forward
In order for patients to reap the benefits of bench and clinical research, we must develop effective strategies that translate this knowledge into clinical practice. Delivering quality care to patients has two goals: increasing the likelihood of desired health outcomes and ensuring concordance with current evidence (1). Quality improvement is the scientific discipline that accompanies this so-called T3 activity, focusing on the structures, processes, and outcomes of healthcare delivery (2). A primary motivator of quality improvement is the reduction of medical error, which has emerged as a major problem in modern healthcare, estimated to cause up to 98,000 preventable hospital deaths in the United States each year at a cost of $17–29 billion (3). The ICU poses unique challenges to effective healthcare delivery and is an ideal setting for rigorous quality improvement inquiry.