ICU Physician Staffing

A critical care unit or Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is the unit in a hospital that provides care for extremely ill patients. Hospitals should staff these units with specially trained doctors called intensivists, who have board certification in critical care medication.  

Hospital Case Study

Learn how Doylestown Hospital implemented the ICU Physician Staffing Standard.

These intensivists learn to manage problems in the ICU and help to reduce errors. There are lower death rates in hospitals where ICU patients are 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 intensivists can reduce ICU mortality by as much as 40%. 

ICU Physician Staffing is one of The Leapfrog Group’s original quality and safety standards, and hospitals are asked to report on whether or not their critical care patients are cared for by physicians who are certified in critical care medicine.

View Leapfrog Hospital Survey Results here.

Fact sheet on ICU Staffing evidence, measure, and standards

ICU Physician Staffing bibliography 

Visit Newsletter