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Toward a new frontier on economic and technologic assessment in intensive care: the role of ethics

Intensive care historical development is always related to increasing high technological patterns and, as consequence, increasing financial costs. Economic and technological assessment of intensive care units has therefore become a very important analytical tools for efficient management of this kind of therapy.

The mainstream of the literature about economic and technological evaluation analysis focuses on technological innovation and, on the other hand, on cost containment. Our aim in the present article is to discuss the way in which ethical dimension should be incorporated to economic and technological evaluation analysis. In such a perspective the question is: How can ethical dimension be an endogeneous part of those evaluations, and a ground for decision making in intensive care procedure?

Our critical view over the mainstream of this specialized literature refuses both the analytical reduction from a wide view of technology to a simple absorption of technical innovations, and also the reduction from a extensive view of economy to a simple matter of cost containment. We think that the ethical dimension can integrate those evaluations analysis and render possible a solid management of the process of the intensive care unit. We are sure this process could not be reached by a nonintegrated evaluation analysis. So, in that perspective, ethics can be the link between investments, costs and technological innovation in intensive care therapies.


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Coelho, C., Kornis, G. Toward a new frontier on economic and technologic assessment in intensive care: the role of ethics. Crit Care 7, P89 (2003).

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  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Technological Innovation
  • Technologic Assessment
  • Evaluation Analysis
  • Cost Containment