A recent NY Times article discussed the economic benefit of medical devices that patients use outside of hospitals and clinics.
There is huge potential with personal devices for lowering costs and helping the patient take control of his/her own health. It’s great to see technology companies developing low-cost alternatives. All too often, the pharmaceutical and medical device industries push more expensive drugs and equipment that are no better, and sometimes less safe, than existing solutions. My PhD dissertation committee chair, Dr. Donald Patrick, co-wrote a comprehensive book on this: Hope or Hype: The Obsession with Medical Advances and the High Cost of False Promises. It points out that newer isn’t always better when it comes to medical care.
I think we will reverse the trend of blindly accepting the newest, most expensive care if not just because we want to but have to in order to control health care costs. Comparative effectiveness studies, drug and device regulations, and low-cost technologies as described in the NY Times article will help society achieve better, high-value care.