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VOLUME 27 , ISSUE 12 ( December, 2023 ) > List of Articles


Approach to Intensive Care Costing and Provision of Cost-effective Care

Binila Chacko, Nagarajan Ramakrishnan, John Victor Peter

Keywords : Cost analysis, Cost-effectiveness, Cost utility

Citation Information : Chacko B, Ramakrishnan N, Peter JV. Approach to Intensive Care Costing and Provision of Cost-effective Care. Indian J Crit Care Med 2023; 27 (12):876-887.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-24576

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 30-11-2023

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2023; The Author(s).


Intensive care unit (ICU) service is resource-intense, finite, and valuable. The outcome of critically ill patients has improved because of a better understanding of disease pathology, technological developments, and newer treatment modalities. These improvements have however come at a price, with ICUs contributing significantly to health budgets. Several costing tools are used to assess cost. Accurate assessment has been hampered by the lack of standardized methodology and the heterogeneity of ICUs. In a costing exercise, the level of disaggregation (micro-costing vs gross-costing) and the method of costing (top-down vs bottom-up) need to be considered. Intensive care unit costing also needs to be viewed from the perspective of stakeholders. While all stakeholders aim to provide quality health care, objectives may vary. For the public health care provider, the focus is on optimizing expenditure; for the private health care provider it is bottomline; for a patient, it is affordability; for an insurance service provider, it is minimizing payout; and for the regulator, it is ensuring quality standards and fair pricing. The field of health economics deals with the application of the principles of cost-minimization, cost-effectiveness, cost-utility, and cost-benefit to identify treatments that result in the best outcome at the lowest cost, without limiting resources to other competing interests. In the ICU setting, studies on the efficient use of available resources, and interventions that reduce cost and minimize avoidable cost, would not only translate to cost savings, lives saved, and quality-adjusted life years gained but also enable policymakers to better allocate health care resources.

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