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Intensive care medicine in 2050: Toward an intensive care unit without waste.

Intensive Care Medicine April 1, 2017

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Research Areas


In the year 2050 we will unambiguously reimburse healthcare based on value, and so there is good reason to suspect that we will have targeted and reduced many services that provide little or no benefit to patients. Because it is impossible to prove that an intervention provides zero benefit for all conceivable patients, it is useful to consider ways to reduce both no-value care and low-value care (e.g., services that provide small benefits, but come at a high cost).

There are two main categories of low-value critical care: (1) the allocation of intensive care unit (ICU) beds to patients who will not benefit over admission to a ward, and (2) the provision of excessive critical care resources to patients who appropriately gain entry into the ICU. While both are important, avoiding low-value ICU admissions portends generally greater cost reductions than avoiding waste from low-value services delivered to patients already admitted to the ICU.