Healthcare spending is out of control, but it's because of the innovation being done in medicine, tests, and treatments. This indicates that there is a need to rely on technology to economize the health industry.
The best example is human genome sequencing. When introduced in 2003, the project cost over $3 billion dollars. Now, it is possible to sequence the human genome for just under $1,000. This shows how technological advancement leads to cost effectiveness.
Take surgical technologies as another example. Spinal surgeons in the U.S. mostly use principle devices such as the pedicle screw systems. However, technology has introduced interspinious process spacers and cervical/lumbar artificial discs that not only improve the procedure, but also make the surgery less complex.
Key figures are also driving the technology based impetus. For example, Steve MacMillan is a part of the organization whose new system allows doctors to precisely cut and coagulate soft tissue. The FMwand Ferromagnetic Surgical System is new to the market and is innovative in the sense that it uses heat energy to cut and coagulate tissue instead of passing current (in conventional models). This in turn reduces the damage to normal areas by a great extent.
Another innovation is that of nano-grafts that can be made for skin based surgeries. In this case, scaffolds carrying bio-mimicking material are used that allows skin regenerations. Alternative protocols are also investigating if stem cells can be injected into the grafts. This is an important area from the commercial point of view because there are a lot of causes of skin related issues in war affected areas.
Single Port Surgery is also a major technological advancement and is relying on the use of wristed robotic instruments. The relevant instruments are rigged to a fluorescence imaging system that operates via the camera head. The surgeon uses the instruments from a surgeon console that is digitally managed. The fluorescent labeling can be used to target point of infection such as renal arteries, prostate gland, etc.
Despite these achievements, questions remain whether the new healthcare system is helping progress or not.
Grant-awarded organizations such as the NIH emphasize that projects should be focused on application rather than pure science. This approach allows efficient and cost-effective science. In the long run, the U.S. health care system is indeed improving technology and efficiency through new technology.