This post was originally published on the blog Collective Well
I watched the small baby lay silently sleeping, his little body propped up in a full-sized hospital bed, dwarfed by monitors and machines and bags of medications that looked as benign as pure spring water and yet I knew were controlling most of his bodily functions including this induced sleep. His peaceful demeanor seemed so incongruous to the palpable intensity of everything around him. Despite the alarms, incessant beeping, murmur of voices and general hubbub of the ICU, he went on sleeping, utterly oblivious. In this environment, where every organ’s function is externalized and micro-managed down to each breath and each heartbeat, all medical decisions take on heightened scrutiny.
It is not hard to imagine why functional and technical measures were developed to assess patient outcomes and cost for each of these critical decisions, and how important it is to analyze those metrics to ensure these babies survive the next minute, hour, day.
We can estimate the cost of this baby’s hospitalization, but how do we measure the value?