The Hidden Costs of Healthcare Innovations


Technological advancements in the healthcare industry can be shockingly effective. They also can exert a significant impact on a hospital’s budget. On this episode of Full Circle Healthcare, a Mesphere Systems podcast, David Macfarlane, Marketing Communications Manager for Medsphere Systems, sat down with host Sean Heath to discuss the challenges of adopting the latest and greatest technologies.

The initial cost of a new healthcare technology can vary widely, based on the size/scope of the product, Macfarlane said.

“If you’re looking at the entire range of IT products, specific to healthcare, so, we’re talking about an entire healthcare platform. An electronic health record that runs a whole hospital, or a healthcare system, and then you could scale all the way down to a single software product that does something very specific, or a single device that does something very specific,” he said.

The cost and budgetary impact of technological advances is apparent across the entire industry, explained Macfarlane.

“There’s a linear relationship between increases in healthcare costs and the introduction of technology into the healthcare environment. When you introduce new technology, costs go up. We haven’t managed to bend that curve, at all,” he said.

Macfarlane also explained that the rapid adoption of healthcare IT systems can decrease the usage by the physicians it was designed to assist.

“They found that they sort of made their lives more complicated, not less complicated,” Macfarlane said. “They found that they spend more time now than they used to, entering data and a lot of hospitals have actually hired people to do that for physicians. So, there’s still a lot of maturity (for these systems) to achieve.”

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