Does Increasing Medical Technology Tend to Increase the Demand for Health Care?
Health care costs are increasing every year and one of the reasons for this is the increasing development of medical technology. Based on the 2007 statistics, the annual spending of US health care has increased from $75 billion in the year 1970 to $2 trillion in the year 2005 but an estimated increase of $4 trillion in the year 2015. This implies a double in the increase of health care costs in the past 35 years alone.
Medical Technology Defined
Medical technology is defined as the procedures, processes, equipment which is used by medical care services to help provide the medical needs of the people. It also involves new surgical and medical procedures like angioplasty and joint replacements, drugs like biologic agents, medical devices like CT scanners and implantable defibrillators, and new support systems like transmission of information, electronic medical records and telemedicine.
Medical Technology and Serious Illnesses
Heart disease like heart attack is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. In the past, if you are diagnosed with this type of ailment there is no hope that your life can be extended but thanks to increased medical technology, the treatment and prevention of these diseases has greatly improved. Cardiac care units were soon invented, lidocaine was realized to help regulate a patient’s heartbeat, beta-blockers which were discovered to help lower blood pressure upon the first three hours of a person’s heart attack, clot buster drugs and coronary artery bypass surgery which were performed and were successful in saving the lives of many patients.
In the 1990’s, more effective drugs were discovered and manufactured. These were used to inhibit clot formation while cardiac rehabilitation programs and implantable cardiac defibrillators were also applied to patients to further aid the regularization of their heartbeats. After a decade, more and more tests were made that can better diagnose heart attack. New drug strategies were developed and drug eluting stents were used for long term management of heart attacks as well as potential heart attack patients. Thanks to this advancements in medical technology, the overall mortality rate from heart attacks were greatly reduced to half.
The effect of medical technology in health care costs
Aside from cardiovascular diseases, there are other illnesses and diseases which has greatly benefited from modern technology. Nevertheless, it has undoubtedly influenced the price of health care.
The desire of men to lengthen their lives and the continuous flow of new medical technology is the one of the culprit behind the yearly increase of health care costs. Commercial investors are willing to invest more on scientific and medical researches because the return of investment from successful research is guaranteed. Anyone is willing to pay more if it means lengthening their life.
Major advances in medical technology like development of new procedures, drugs and incremental improvements in a person’s health conditions are just a few of the factors which greatly influence the cost of health care plans. The costs of treating individual patients through the use of these new medical technologies are increased because of the investments made by researchers. Of course, investors would wish to profit from their research and the best way to attain this is to charge the cost of research to the consumers.