The Many Costs of Imaging Technologies

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , July 27, 2010

Teleradiology taps the technology in appropriate ways, says Khatib. “It's a very good example of how you can truly utilize technology to have best outcomes."

But changing our long-standing reliance on the very best and the very latest technology—regardless of whether evidence shows it to be better-may also be part of the answer.

"This is a societal issue," says Andrew Pecora, MD, chairman and executive administrative director of the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack (NJ) University Medical Center. Every generation expects to get more out of its healthcare system, live longer, have fewer deaths or side effects of medications than the generation before it, he notes. "We have to make a decision as a society what we want out of the healthcare system, and it has to be reality-based. It would be wonderful if everybody could get everything and it didn't cost anything."

That's an absurd extreme, he says, but so is the idea that you can remove all waste and solve economic incentives and other problems.

"We're going to do all these things, and as a consequence of that, everyone is going to continue to have the relationship they currently have with their physician, be able to pick the hospitals they go to, and have access to any and all new breakthrough technologies," he says. "That's not going to happen either."

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