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Healthcare Technology and Finance
Medical technology has brought many positive changes to society according to (Cutler & McCLellan, 2001) such as increased longevity, improved quality of life and less time absent from work. (Cutler & McCLellan, 2001) further state that lower infant mortality and better treatment of heart attacks have been sufficiently improved and that these improvements alone are equal to the entire cost increase for medical care over time. It is impossible to put a price on quality of life but it seems that many want to. How can one truly set a price on keeping an infant alive or giving a paralyzed patient another chance at walking again?
Yes, technology is expensive, but the expense is due to the cost of the equipment, as well as maintenance and training required for said equipment. This does not include the research and development that (Shi & Singh, 2017) allude to when they write about the U.S. spending more money than other countries trying to be innovative and research better way of accomplishing procedures. Within the context of this new equipment there will become new specialties within the medical field that physicians will inevitably have to learn. (Cassel, 2011) states that the structure of the medical profession is moving towards a system of specialties defined by the job market rather than by the professional system of specialist qualifications. This is because the desire for the quality of life mentioned above is very real. Americans want to be healthy and it has become an expectation from the medical profession to provide that reality. Due to an increase in physicians trying to become specialists, there has developed a space within the primary care field that has been difficult to fill with providers. (Green, Savin & Lu, 2013) state that the current shortage of primary care physicians will worsen over the next ten years as the nation’s population grows and ages and as insurance coverage expands as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Currently the medical profession is trying to bridge this gap with Nurse Practitioners as well as Physicians Assistants.
Another heated debate has arisen stemming from the American expectation that the medical profession can and will find a cure for diseases and injuries via medical technology. This has spawned a race to see how many diseases and injuries can be cured through cloning. (De Wert & Mummery, 2003) state that there is a slippery slope that will develop from reproductive cloning. This slope has us devolving into a species that does not value life. On the other side of the issue is (Lo & Parham, 2009) who quote Senator Hatch as he states, “I believe that human life begins in the womb, not a Petri dish or refrigerator.” We can interpret this to mean that cloning is ok as long as it consists of work in a lab vice utilizing embryos from the mother. Of course, there are many in the pro-life group that disagree with Senator Hatch’s statement and believe that all life is sacred. To them it does not matter if it starts in the test tube or not. The more moderate faiths according to (Hyun, 2010) tell us that there are many Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions, as well as many Western Christian views, who believe that human beings arrive much later in the gestational process, with some religious views maintaining that the fetus must first reach a stage of viability outside the womb. This idea of course is contradicted by Psalm 139:13 (CEB) “You are the one who created my innermost parts; you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb.”
As evidenced above there are quite a few challenges that have arisen from medical technology, but just as many benefits. This is why it is so important that those in power have a firm grasp of the moral virtues that will keep America’s moral compass pointed “True North”.
Cassel, C. K. (2011). Specialization, Subspecialization, and Subsubspecialization in Internal Medicine. The New England Journal of Medicine, 364, 1169-1173. Retrieved from 10.1056/NEJMsb1012647
Cutler, D. M., & McCLellan, M. (2001). Is Technological Change In Medicine Worth It?. Health Affairs, 20(5), 11-29. Retrieved from 10.1377/hlthaff.20.5.11
De Wert, G., & Mummery, C. (2003). Human Embryonic Stem Cells: Research, Ethics and Policy. Oxford Academic, 18(4), 672-682. Retrieved from 10.1093/humrep/deg143
Hyun, I. (2010). The Bioethics of Stem Cell Research and Therapy. The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 120(1), 71-75. Retrieved from 10.1172/JC140435
Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2017). Essentials of the U.S. health care system (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Topic: Health Care Technology and FinancePrompt: Although medical technology brings numerous benefits, what have been some of the main challenges posed by the growing use of medical technology in the United States? Next, how do American cultural beliefs and values influence the use of medical technology?
Medical technology is the result of the increased growth of intensive procedures within the United States and is a vital part of the increasing health care costs. While the use of new and improved technologies is often upgraded within clinical practice, analysis of cost projection of their use has not been fully weighed. Shi & Singh, (2017), state that the main reasons for high health care costs include not only medical technology, but third-part payment systems, an increase in the elderly population, the use of the medical model of health care delivery, multiplayer system and administrative costs, defensive medicine, waste and abuse, and finally practice variations.
The most challenging issues regarding medical technology is cost. According to Buliner, (2014), many physicians have reported financial incentives for the use of advanced medical technology, pressure from their peers to utilize new technology, and misuse of the technology, have all led to the increased costs in health care. This in turn, leads to the tendency of adapting technology that increases cost for the consumer and to raise the expectations of each individual patient. There is also evidence of types of technology which has been integrated into use in facilities that have no evidence-based support backing their use which is leading to complications for the staff and the patient receiving the care, also increasing medical cost and waste (Shi & Singh, 2017). Lamiraud & Lhuillery, (2016), state that the progress of technology has many side effects that may either higher or lower the costs depending on the nature of the technology adopted.
Patient expectations are second areas that pose a challenge for the use of medical technology within the United States. Patients want choices and they want the best treatment available. This has led to increasing physicians’ expectations, cost, additional training, advanced specialization of physicians and staff, and moral and ethical dilemmas (Shi & Singh, 2017). Questions of how long to treat or continue treatment for terminal conditions and who deserves the care versus who can pay for the care are all questions that may arise from the expectations of all involved in the care of the patient.
Cultural beliefs and values have influenced the role and use of medical technology based on the advances of technology in all other areas in life. This can be viewed as the Americans expecting the newest and best technology and then believing that it can lead to better outcomes. The link that is missing, in my opinion, is the thought of who will pay for this? Advances in technology in all other important areas in one’s life will also lead to the availability to utilize medical technology in positive ways as well. Shi & Singh, (2017) respond to this as the utilization of health information technology, patient portals, and the use and utilization of electronic health records.
So many Christians struggle with the difficulty in making decisions with health care and the available technology. Is it right or wrong? According to 1 Corinthians 3:19, “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” There are many technology advancements, in my opinion, are foolish and against God’s word. Such an example would be the use of technology to predict congenital defects in fetuses that are terminated through medically induced abortions. Decisions we make as Christians must be according to the word of God, not through the pressures of society.
1 Corinthians 15:35-49 states “But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. …
Berliner, E. (2014). Adopting Medical Technology. Medical Decision Making, 8(34).
Cost-Effectiveness Analysis and Cost-Benefit Analysis. (2013). Medical Decision Making, 288-
Lamiraud, K.& Lhuillery, S.(2016). Endogenous Technology Adoption and Medical Costs.
Health Econ., 25: 1123–1147. doi: 10.1002/hec.3361.
Shi, L., & Singh, D. (2017). Essentials of the U.S. Health Care System (Fourth ed.). Burlington,
MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
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