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Medical Technology & Health Care Costs Medical administrators will need to address

Medical administrators will need to address the implications of advanced medical technology on the future of health care costs. American medical care is the most technologically advanced in the world, yet as a nation, we are not necessarily the healthiest as a result. Many in America go without adequate health care, and the cost of such indifference will have to paid in the price of many not getting the benefit of the latest technological advances in medicine. Many Americans, the poor primarily, are either grossly underinsured or uninsured entirely, as a result of individual and national neglect and mismanagement of finite technological resources. We crave the newest and most advanced equipment, but at what price?

Medical administrators will have a role in managing resources at the hospital level. An analysis of the problem of how to best utilize highly expensive diagnostic and treatment technology will reveal that hospitals could be doing a much better job of making equipment available to a wider population in local communities. Advanced technology is inherently neither good nor bad; rather, its value lies in utilization. Ideally, the wider the population base benefiting from the technology, the better. Methods of accomplishing this goal will be discussed. In addition, we will examine evaluative methods to test the effectiveness of several solutions to the problem of how best to allocate expensive technology.

As Michael D. Reagan points out in his excellent book, Curing the Crisis, "technology is not the product of spontaneous generation; strong market forces impel its use . . . but all the blame does not lie with the manufacturers and the health care providers. We as patients also play a role." Americans are accustomed to believing that more treatment is better treatment, yet in many cases, a cost and benefits analysis will show that a patient is no better off for having sustained long-term, expensive treatment. ...

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