Cost analysis of critical patient care at a pediatric intensive care unit of a tertiary care public hospital in an urban metropolis of India
Keywords:Critical patient care, Pediatric intensive care unit, Costs, Direct fixed components, Direct variable components, Indirect components, Public hospital
Background: The cost of critical care is widely recognized as being high. However, it remains a challenge to accurately assess the cost of intensive care due to a lack of standardized methodology. There is also considerable heterogeneity with regard to allocation of resources and distribution of critical care services.
Methods: We conducted a prospective study to analyse diagnosis-based costs of paediatric patient care at a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) in a public hospital in Mumbai on the basis of identified cost components; direct (fixed and variable) and indirect costs.
Results: Out of 167 (102 boys, 61%) patients enrolled, 65 (39%) were aged 1-7 months. They spent an average of 4±1.46 bed days in the PICU. The cost of direct fixed components (salaries, capital equipment, disposables) was Rs. 64,48,200 for six months. The maximum cost of direct variable components spent by the hospital (physiotherapy intervention, expert opinion, investigations, medicines, blood products, piped gases) amounted to Rs. 548.63/patient/day for treatment of non-infectious diseases. Cost of indirect components (building maintenance) was Rs. 12,500/six months. Linear regression analysis showed 83-99.99% dependency of treatment cost to diagnosis and bed days. The average cost of treatment of infectious and non-infectious diagnoses/patient/day spent by the hospital was Rs. 260 and Rs. 548.63 respectively as compared to Rs. 169.96 and Rs. 356.21 spent by the patients.
Conclusions: Our study showed that majority of the treatment costs depended on the diagnosis and number of bed days of the patients. Also being a tertiary care public hospital, 60% of the treatment costs were borne by the hospital. Thus, our study attempts to quantify, in financial terms, the expenditure involved in running a paediatric ICU in a tertiary care public hospital so as to assist doctors and healthcare decision makers in the allocation of resources.
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