The Paediatric Heart program at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) has received the first British Medical Journal (BMJ)-India 2014 Health Care Award under the Quality Improvement category. The award was conferred to Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) for continuously striving for excellence in the complex area of delivering high quality, affordable cardiac care to children with heart defects. Dr. Sunil G. S., Dr. Rakhi B. and Dr. R. Krishna Kumar received the award on behalf of the Paediatric Cardiac team, AIMS, at a glittering ceremony in New Delhi on September 20, 2014.
Launched in 2009, The British Medical Journal (BMJ) Awards are the UK's premier medical awards program, recognising and celebrating the inspirational work done by doctors and their teams. BMJ introduced awards for excellence in health care this year in India for the first time. The awards seek to recognize excellence in healthcare in India by felicitating individuals, teams and groups that have demonstrated exemplary commitment to the practice of medicine. The 2014 awards showcased knowledge, expertise, and practices that have helped transform the healthcare ecosystem in India.
The Paediatric Heart program at AIMS chose to apply for the award under the quality improvement category because this best described their ethos and philosophy. The nominations went through three stages and the final presentation was made a day before the award ceremony.
Care of children with heart problems is challenging. A high level of skill, commitment and coordination is necessary among the team of health care professionals who specialize in this endeavour. The team members included paediatric cardiologists, paediatric heart surgeons, anaesthesiologists, intensive care experts and specialized nurses. Advanced hospital infrastructure, quality equipment and efficient and robust systems are needed to support their efforts.
Established in 1998, the Paediatric Heart program at AIMS aimed for the specific goal of delivering affordable comprehensive heart care for children with results matching highest international standards. Over the past 16 years the program has become a preferred destination for babies in the region requiring heart surgery. The unique strength of the program is in the excellence achieved with infant and newborn heart operations. The program is deeply committed to ensure exceptional surgical results in this difficult discipline. Since its inception, AIMS has performed 12,000 heart operations and 10,000 catheter procedures in paediatric cardiac care.
In order to ensure the highest standards of care the Paediatric Heart program at AIMS instituted a number of specific quality improvement initiatives. The specific quality improvement initiatives included, creation of a dedicated paediatric cardiac postoperative intensive care unit, establishment of a system for continuously monitoring key postoperative outcome measures, streamlining communication between all caregivers, specific measures to improve nurse empowerment, creation of a dedicated infection control team and developing key international partnerships. The interventions created a culture of coordinated multidisciplinary team-based comprehensive paediatric cardiac care. Over the years, these efforts have translated into progressive improvements in the surgical results. The most recent outcomes were either comparable or better than the best international standards.
The award was in recognition of the fact that in spite of the challenges typically encountered in a limited resource environment, targeted quality improvement measures, skill-enhancement, and adherence to best-practice standards enabled the Paediatric Heart Program at AIMS to produce outstanding results following paediatric heart surgery.
September 20, 2014
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Kochi