Saturday, August 8, 2009

Will Medical Technology Reduce Healthcare Costs?

This is a guest post by Adrienne Carlson. If you're interested in submitting a guest post, please contact me.

Will Medical Technology Reduce Healthcare Costs?

While the debate over the pros and cons of President Obama’s healthcare plans and reforms rage on, other measures are being taken to decrease the overall cost of providing healthcare to people in the long run. Companies that manufacture medical technology are jumping on this bandwagon with their inventions and innovations, with claims that their products will help reduce healthcare costs in the long run.

Medical technology businesses are already testing out digestible chips that check if you’re taking your prescribed medication correctly. The chips will be attached to your medication, and using a sensing device worn on your skin, will be able to tell doctors if you are getting the right dose of medicine and also read them your vital signs. The whole system works using wireless technology, taking advantage of the vast infrastructure that is already being used by mobile phones and notebook computers. The technology is supposed to allow doctors to monitor you even though you are at a distant location and to provide medical attention if your signs seem to show some anomaly.

The entire premise of this concept is based on the fact that hospital visits and hospital stays because of unnoticed and hence untreated symptoms contribute to a large percentage of healthcare costs. So if this cost can be reduced using this technology, it augurs well for the people who really need healthcare to be affordable. But, even though there may be some truth in this supposition, the fact remains that:
• The initial cost of the technology is going to be pretty high, especially when it is in its infancy and still in the post experimental stage.
• Only those who can afford it are going to buy it, given that they believe it will work.
• Insurers may not be willing to back this technology on the grounds that it is unproven and expensive, just as they refuse to cover other experimental treatments like bone marrow transplants.
• If the treatment is not covered by insurance, how does it help bring down the cost of healthcare?
• Most hospitals and doctors would not want to invest their time and effort in technology for which they are not reimbursed by insurance companies.
While it is true that such technology does help improve the quality and effectiveness of healthcare for those who can afford it, it is arguable if it will help bring down healthcare costs, even in the long run.

This guest article was written by Adrienne Carlson, who regularly writes on the topic of radiography technician salary. Adrienne welcomes your comments and questions at her email address: adrienne.carlson1@gmail.com

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