Yonsei Med J.  2021 Jan;62(1):50-58. 10.3349/ymj.2021.62.1.50.

Impact of Intensivist and Nursing Staff on Critically Ill Patient Mortality: A Retrospective Analysis of the Korean NHIS Cohort Data, 2011–2015

  • 1Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Severance Hospital, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Research and Analysis Team, National Health Insurance Service Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Internal Medicine, National Health Insurance Service Ilsan Hospital, Goyang, Korea


Critical care medicine continues to evolve. However, critical care cases require increasing amount of medical resources. Intensive care unit (ICU) mortality significantly impacts the overall efficiency of healthcare resources within a system of limited medical resources. This study investigated the factors related to ICU mortality using long-term nationwide cohort data in South Korea.
Materials and Methods
This retrospective cohort study used data of 14905721 patients who submitted reimbursement claims to the Korean Health Insurance Service between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2015. A total of 1498102 patients who were admitted to all ICU types, except neonatal and long-term acute care hospitals, were enrolled.
Of the total 1498102 participants, 861397 (57.5%) were male and 636705 (42.5%) were female. The mean age at admission was 63.4±18.2 years; most of the subjects were aged over 60 years. During the 5-year period, in-hospital mortality rate was 12.9%. In Cox analysis, both in-hospital and 28-day mortality rates were significantly higher in male patients and those of lower socioeconomic status. As age increased and the number of nursing staff decreased, the mortality risk increased significantly by two or three times. The mortality risk was lower in patients admitted to an ICU of a tertiary university hospital and an ICU where intensivists worked.
The number of nursing staff and the presence of an intensivist in ICU were associated with the ICU mortality rate. Also, increasing the number of nursing staff and the presence of intensivist might reduce the mortality rate among ICU patients.


Critical care; intensive care unit; mortality; nursing staff; intensivist
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