Managed Care and the Evaluation and Adoption of Emerging Medical Technologies

By Steven Garber; M. Susan Ridgely et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Six
HOW MIGHT TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION
BE IMPROVED?

We conducted in-depth interviews with eight medical device manufacturers and nine managed care organizations about the processes of technology assessment and technology adoption by MCOs. Combining information from these interviews, the discussion at the October 7 meeting, and the literature provides an incomplete, yet in many ways revealing, view of these processes. This view, in turn, suggests several issues that might be confronted in hopes of improving the system.


BALANCING COSTS AND BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY
ADOPTION

No matter how much society values medical care and medical innovation, it must also accept the relevance of costs of delivering health care under private insurance arrangements.1 While medical innovation is believed to be a leading cause of increasing costs of medical care, the consequent improvements in health are highly valued by consumers.2 Undoubtedly, some medical innovations that are

____________________
1
Organizations insuring and delivering health care cannot long survive in the marketplace without covering their costs. Payers and consumers care very much about how much they pay for care, both directly and indirectly, through insurance premiums. Premium levels are an important cause of lack of health insurance by many Americans.
2
Newhouse (1993, p. 163) argues that the most plausible explanation for the bulk of increases in medical care costs over time has been technological advance in medicine. He emphasizes, however, that the key questions are whether the well-being of consumers is improved by particular innovations, despite their costs, and states that such “questions [are] exceedingly difficult to answer.”

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