A critical care unit or Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is a special part of the hospital that provides care for extremely ill patients. Hospitals should have special doctors called intensivists working in the ICU. Intensivists are physicians with advanced training in intensive or critical care. They learn to manage problems in the ICU and help to reduce errors. There are higher death rates in hospitals where ICU patients are not cared for by intensivists.
The death rates for patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) average 10-20% in most hospitals. Overall, more than 200,000 patients die in U.S. ICUs each year. Given the high stakes involved, the quality of care delivered in ICUs is particularly important. Research has shown that hospitals staffing their ICUs with doctors specializing in critical care medicine can reduce ICU mortality by as much as 40%.
This section of the Leapfrog Hospital Survey is one of The Leapfrog Group’s original quality and safety standards, and is designed to determine whether or not patients in ICUs are cared for by physicians certified in critical care. It is publicly reported as Specially Trained doctors care for ICU patients on Leapfrog's Hospital Ratings Results page.