The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has succeeded in slashing its rates for cardiac surgeries by as much as 15-20 per cent for general ward patients.
Sample this: in 2004 the cost of repairing a hole in the heart was Rs 45,000; now it costs Rs 40,000. Bypass surgery, which used to cost Rs 60,000, is done for Rs 52,000. Two types of surgeries for congenital heart diseases — heart defects that are present since birth — now cost Rs 40,000 and Rs 52,000 respectively against the older rates of Rs 50,000 and Rs 55,000.
Surgery for total anomalous pulmonary venous connection (TAPVC), another congenital heart defect, now costs Rs 50,000 against Rs 60,000.
The cost of surgical repair of conduits and valves has also been brought down to Rs 55,000 from
Rs 65,000. Diagnostic tests such as cardiac X-rays and CT scans are also cheaper. Procedures like angioplasty are cheaper by Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000.
The premier medical institute has achieved this by cutting down on disposables used during the surgeries and with doctors pushing the envelope of precision during surgeries, which has cut down on patients’ hospital stay and complications resulting in less use of hospital equipment and other resources, doctors said.
“We reviewed our use of disposables and realised that since we buy materials in bulk, our costs are much less. Also, our doctors have succeeded in cutting patients’ hospital stay. So, on the one hand, we have reduced the use of disposables like sutures. On the other hand, we have succeeded to contain complications... so less resources are being used,” Dr Balram Airan, chief of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery (CTVS), said.
Increased surgical precision, in procedures like ‘anastamosis’ or joining together two branches of blood vessels, has reduced bleeding rates, a step that has helped doctors cut
the use of disposables such as sutures (used to stitch up an incision) and cut costs.
Doctors realised they were saving a substantial amount of money on disposables, so they simply decided to transfer the benefits to the patients.
The decision has already invited the wrath of suppliers. Suture companies that supply AIIMS