Technological advances are one of the things that we all hope will help drive down the overall cost of health care. Electronic medical records (EMRs) are frequently shown by a wide array of studies to cut a huge amount of administrative costs out of the overall equation. Other innovations could be extremely useful as cost cutters once out of the research phase.
CBCNews out of Canada takes a quick look at some of these advances, and also looks at the source. Their conclusion is that the real "cutting edge" of medical tech advancement is occurring in small companies and start-ups. Citing the more adventurous profile of companies that rely on angel investments and the need to maintain revenue streams on the part of larger, established ones, the article then proceeds to put forth a few examples.
Right off the bat, they go to what I consider one of the most important areas of medical tech: electronic medical records.
They then proceed to take a look at some other innovations, including (believe it or not) robot nurses. It is a fascinating view of the cutting edge.
Philadelphia-based Hx Technologies wants to unlock the power of computer networks (a very '90s concept) and suck costs out of the system by making it easier to transport diagnostic images like CT scans. Amazingly, shuttling these images to doctors for second and third opinions is still done the old-fashioned way — by hand.
[...]Launched in 2000, Hx Technologies estimates that it can eliminate extra tests — and save the U.S. medical system $5 billion (US) to $6 billion a year — by storing medical images so they can be accessed in encrypted form over the Internet.
SOURCE: "Hot technology that could change health care" 09/08/08
photo courtesy of Liz Henry, used under its Creative Commons license