Technology assessment is becoming increasingly important in the area of critical care due both to the explosion of technology associated with this discipline and to the realization that future demand for these health care resources will undoubtedly exceed the ability to pay. Technology assessment remains both confusing and controversial to many physicians. This review tries to address some of the confusion by reviewing the basic strategies involved in this process. From there, problems and prospects for the evaluation of critical care as a program are presented, followed by the assessment of components within the area of critical care. Finally, recommendations are made on how technology assessment could proceed in the future to best achieve the efficient provision of this service.