Top-down costing: Problems in determining staff costs in intensive care medicine

Luca Brazzi, Guido Bertolini, Enrico Arrighi, Franco Rossi, Rebecca Facchini, Davide Luciani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To describe the activities carried out by the staff of Italian ICUs and to quantify the amount of working time devoted to ICU patients. Design and setting: Prospective, observational, multicenter study in 110 ICUs to report the non-ICU-related activities performed by ICU staff, together with the time such activities require. Of the 110 ICUs 80 participated in the project. Measurements and results: We found substantial variation in the number of activities carried out and in the working time allocated to such activities. Considering the differences in the number of employees, their salaries, and the amount of time spent performing various activities, it was found that the personnel cost for ICU activity was 83.4% (range 55-100%) of the total personnel costs. Conclusions: Given the wide variation in the number of activities performed and in the proportion of working time spent performing non-ICU related activities, data comparing costs between different ICUs should be interpreted with caution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1661-1663
Number of pages3
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Costs and cost analysis
  • Direct service costs
  • Hospital costs
  • Intensive care
  • Intensive care units
  • Research design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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