erjee on Mar 26, 2013 at 6:15 pm
On Monday, the New York Times reported on the controversy over Intuitive Surgical Inc.’s “daVinci” robotic surgery system — a product that allows doctors to “conduct” surgeries remotely on a console while robotic arms scale and translate their movements onto the actual patient. While high-tech systems like this are supposed to make procedures safer and more efficient, the daVinci lawsuit — which centers on a patient who eventually died from complications arising from the system’s use — reveals that a combination of factors, such as inadequate product testing and aggressive marketing strategies driven by profits, often undermine that goal.
That’s a frustrating reality for health care reform advocates on the lookout for effective methods of cutting national health expenditures while improving patient care. Although innovation in health care technology had undoubtedly improved lives and made care more efficient in the aggregate, as demonstrated through breakthroughs like vaccines and birth control, it has also accounted for at least half of the increase in health care spending in the last 70 years. While that may sound counter-intuitive at first, a quick dive into America’s health care culture shows why it’s not — and why innovations like “robot doctors” aren’t actually lowering health care costs
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