When it comes to healthcare newer doesn’t always mean better

It has been shown that the development and marketing of newer and more expensive technologies drives up healthcare costs. Every day newer and more expensive devices are manufactured, marketed and purchased by doctors and hospitals across the USA. Although many of these improve care, there are a significant number of them that add little to patient outcomes.

Regardless, these new machines can’t lie dormant-they must be used on patients to recover their costs even though they may not perform better than older devices or techniques.

Here’s a good example-robotic surgery to remove cancerous prostates. The robots, such as the da Vinci, are very expensive, up to $1.3 million, plus a service contract that can run hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Additionally, it requires years of training to become proficient in its use. These machines are directly advertised to the public so folks are now seeking hospitals that have robotic surgery. Men are demanding the da Vinci!

This means that more and more hospitals are buying the robots to stay competitive. However, would you ask for the robot for your next surgery if you knew that many of the top surgeons in the USA won’t use them because they didn’t think it provides better outcomes? Wouldn’t you want to know more before signing the consent form? Well it’s true. Many top surgeons don’t want to have anything to do with robotic surgery because they say they loose the “feel” that it so important in surgery.

Newer isn’t always better, but in healthcare, it is always more expensive . Don’t listen to everything you hear on TV or read in magazines-these are advertisements with paid actors-not doctors! Do your homework and get the right care!

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