Innovation without Diligence Negatively Impacts Healthcare Access

January 4, 2012
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The cost of the delivery of healthcare in this country always seems to be independent of traditional models of demand in practically any other market-based, for-profit operation. That is, instead of relying on the parameters of patient (consumer) satisfaction or dissatisfaction; further innovation fuels the development of costlier, more advanced technology seemingly designed to break the bank (in one way or another) the very entity it is supposed to benefit: the patient.

 

The cost of the delivery of healthcare in this country always seems to be independent of traditional models of demand in practically any other market-based, for-profit operation. That is, instead of relying on the parameters of patient (consumer) satisfaction or dissatisfaction; further innovation fuels the development of costlier, more advanced technology seemingly designed to break the bank (in one way or another) the very entity it is supposed to benefit: the patient.

An editorial reprint in today’s Minneapolis-St. Paul paper of record, the Star Tribune, makes the case for the unintended costly consequences this very innovation has on the big picture with respect to healthcare delivery in the 2010s. It focuses on the use of nuclear diagnostics developed by the Mayo Clinic as a superfluous and disruptive innovation which does the patient-as-consumer no favors…while benefiting the institution at the hands of government abetting.

Proton beam therapy is a kind of radiation used to treat cancers. The particles are made of atomic nuclei rather than the usual X-rays, and theoretically can be focused more precisely on cancerous tissue, minimizing the danger to healthy tissue surrounding it. […]

To generate sufficient revenue, proton beam facilities need to treat patients with other types of cancer. Consequently, they have been promoted for patients with lung, esophageal, breast, head and neck cancers.

But the biggest target by far has been prostate cancer, diagnosed in nearly a quarter of a million men each year. […]

With Medicare reimbursement so generous, and patients and doctors eager for the latest technology, building new machines is sane, profitable business for hospitals like Mayo.

But it is crazy medicine and unsustainable public policy.

Maybe so, but the practice of medicine depends upon the richness of technologies in which parties not only compete toward developing paths of effective treatments for chronic diseases (like cancer, in this case), but also race to spur further research on the nature and behavior of disease. It is within this self-fulfilling prophecy of the cycle of medical education that knowledge moves forward — something the creators of publications like this one thrived upon. And, that’s a good thing. |

Posted in CorporateKnowledge & MedicinePharma & DevicesScience & Research

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