At the 2001 Toronto Critical Care Medicine Symposium, exciting new research results were presented, including a randomized trial of peri-operative pulmonary-artery catheter use and evidence-based guidelines for the prevention of ventilator-acquired pneumonia. Presenters reviewed other important recent critical care developments such as (1) activated protein C and low-dose steroids in sepsis, (2) prone positioning and long-term outcomes in patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome, and (3) medical errors in the critical care unit. Along with these new findings, another theme emerged during the symposium. This theme emphasized that research breakthroughs are not sufficient in themselves: outcome studies are needed to learn how new research is applied on a large-scale basis within actual clinical practice. Furthermore, additional study is needed for an understanding of how physicians implement new research findings. Successful methods of enhancing the widespread adoption of new research require further study.