Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 45, Issue 4, pp 505–507 | Cite as

Intensive care medicine in 2050: preventing harm

  • Chris BeetEmail author
  • Dominique Benoit
  • Julian Bion
What's New in Intensive Care


The Institute of Medicine’s seminal report in 2000 [1] made patient safety a fundamental policy imperative for all developed health systems. There is no doubt that considerable progress has been made to reduce patient harm, with events such as catheter-related bloodstream infections in the ICU [2] now regarded as preventable adverse events rather than inevitable consequences of critical illness. We consider here current challenges in avoiding patient harm in intensive care and potential developments over the next 30 years, with a particular focus on behavioural aspects of improving safety and reliability of care for patients with, or at risk of, critical illness.

Current challenges to preventing harm

Decision support: from data to information

Avoiding harm starts with knowing who, and how, to treat. The ancient Egyptian physician-priest who wrote the Edwin Smith surgical papyrus [3] understood the challenge of diagnostic and prognostic uncertainty and how easy it is to...


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature and ESICM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS TrustCoventryUK
  2. 2.Ghent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  3. 3.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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