- Cost cutting: How Dr. Devi Shetty is cutting costs (and not quality): The process provided an example of how he slashes costs. Four years ago, the sutures would have been bought from a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. Today they are made by a Mumbai company, Centennial Surgical Suture Ltd. . . . Four years ago, Dr. Shetty scrutinized his annual bill for sutures -- then $100,000 and rising by about 5% each year. He made the switch to cheaper sutures by Centennial, cutting his expenditures in half to $50,000. "In health care you can't do one big thing and reduce the price," Dr. Shetty says. "We have to do 1,000 small things."
- Cost cutting without impacting quality: Dr. Shetty's success rates appear to be as good as those of many hospitals abroad. Narayana Hrudayalaya reports a 1.4% mortality rate within 30 days of coronary artery bypass graft surgery, one of the most common procedures, compared with an average of 1.9% in the U.S. in 2008, according to data gathered by the Chicago-based Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
- Expansion of Medical Tourism: His flagship heart hospital charges $2,000, on average, for open-heart surgery, compared with hospitals in the U.S. that are paid between $20,000 and $100,000, depending on the complexity of the surgery. . . . By next year, six million Americans are expected to travel to other countries in search of affordable medical care, up from the 750,000 who did so in 2007, according to a report by Deloitte LLP. A handful of U.S. insurance plans now give people the choice to be treated in other countries.
With the healthcare debate in the U.S reaching a crescendo, one is sure to see more articles of these genera. If nothing else, it will help Americans get a better understanding of the healthcare best-practices elsewhere in the world.
Links of interest