Quantifying Risk and Benchmarking Performance in the Adult Intensive Care Unit

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Morbidity, mortality, and length-of-stay outcomes in patients receiving critical care are difficult to interpret unless they are risk-stratified for diagnosis, presenting severity of illness, and other patient characteristics. Acuity adjustment systems for adults include the Acute Physiology And Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE), the Mortality Probability Model (MPM), and the Simplified Acute Physiology Score (SAPS). All have recently been updated and recalibrated to reflect contemporary results. Specialized scores are also available for patient subpopulations where general acuity scores have drawbacks. Demand for outcomes data is likely to grow with pay-for-performance initiatives as well as for routine clinical, prognostic, administrative, and research applications. It is important for clinicians to understand how these scores are derived and how they are properly applied to quantify patient severity of illness and benchmark intensive care unit performance.

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