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On using high-cost medical technology judiciously


Richard Reece, MD, offers an interesting perspective on America's increasing dependence on medical technology on The Health Care Blog this morning:

We love machines - heart lung bypass machines, dialysis machines, heart rhythm machines, imaging machines, Internet-run machines, ventilation support machines to keep us alive at the end of life. Patients and lawyers expect us to use these machines, doctors constantly innovate to produce more machines, and we tend to use them - no matter what the cost.

Using the example of the da Vinci surgical robot, Reece argues that all of this technology comes at a high cost:

The price is high, $1 million to $2.25 million per machine depending on the model, $140,000 a year for maintenance, and $1500 to $2000 per procedure for replacement parts.

Reece concludes that such technology should be used judiciously. The whole entry is worth reading.

Photo is ©2009 Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
Previously: Obama tries the da Vinci surgical robot

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