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Medical technology: a solution to the health care cost problem

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2 Author(s)
Bronzino, J.D. ; Biomedical Eng., Trinity Coll., Hartford, CT, USA ; Gover, J.E.

Examination of U.S. health care problems reveals that the root cause of today's concerns is cost. Unfortunately, technology has been identified by some to be the principal cost escalator. The authors not only believe that this criticism is unjustified, but that medical technology can provide immediate advances in the productivity of health care services, thereby reducing health care costs while increasing the quantity of services. To properly assess whether technology is actually driving the cost of health care services, they advocate that health care service providers be required to report on each patient's bill the cost to that provider of specific technology services. To reduce the cost of medical technology in the short run the authors recommend that the FDA develop a fast-track approval process for medical technology that shows promise for reducing health care costs. To accelerate the discovery of health care cost reducing technology, the authors recommend that the Federal government invest R&D resources in cost-reducing medical devices. In the long run, however, the authors believe that optimization of the U.S. health care system to provide maximum care at minimum cost will require re-engineering of the U.S. health care system. Therefore, development of an engineering systems/economic model of the U.S. health care system is critical to allow the re-engineering process to rapidly converge to the optimum system.<>

Published in:

Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 3 )