Medical Technology, Increasing or Decreasing Health Care Costs?
The increase in health care costs can be attributed to a variety of different factors such as the aging population, defensive medicine, hospital costs increases, changes in insurance and much more. A big contributing factor to the increase in cost is medical technology.
Medical technology includes new practices such as robotic surgery, telemedicine, electronic medical records, and a variety of new drugs on the market. In many cases these new technologies increase the costs of health care, however, they can also help lower the costs of health care. The development of new vaccines may be pricey up front, but in the long run they will help stop the spread of viruses and disease and therefore lower treatment costs. New technology could also include better screening for disease which would then lead to better treatment.
It's tough to say if advances in technology are better for the economy. Medical technology is increasing prices for current procedures but at the same time, it is decreasing prices for the future. Medical technology is important for the long run of health care costs, even if it means paying more up front today. To learn more about medical technology and its affects, check out the Kaiser Family Foundations’ article about health costs.