Reducing cost and improving quality of care for high-risk babies in Karnataka, India
At a hospital in South India, all high-risk babies admitted to the NICU underwent at least one brain scan and heart scan if there are medical indications. While the NICU was staffed with neonatologists who were trained in conducting such scans, the scans were always done by external consultants. Although there were benefits to having specialists perform these tests, certain limitations existed:
- First, external consultants were not always available when scans were needed urgently to make medical decisions.
- Second, external consultants added to the cost of care for patients’ families.
Therefore, the QI team at this NICU set an aim to reduce the use of external radiologists and cardiologists for routine brain and heart scans; thus, reducing the cost of performing scans and improving the quality of care by making test results more rapidly available to inform timely medical decisions.