Intensive care units are an essential and costly component in most U.S. hospitals. However, little is actually known about what staffing and work-process interventions produce the best balance of quality and costs. We explore the reasons hospitals chose to either adopt or reject an innovative telemedicine approach to supporting delivery of intensive care. Hospital clinical leaders hold strong views but have little objective information on which to judge the worthiness of this innovation. We argue that comparative effectiveness initiatives should emphasize delivery-system and work-process innovations, which are relatively understudied compared to specific drugs, devices, and services.