Houston Methodist CEO: Technology to blame for escalating healthcare costs

During an economics conference in Houston in December, Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom, MD, argued advances in technology are a major contributor to escalating U.S. healthcare spending, reports Houston Chronicle.  

"In most industries, technology is the answer to cheaper and cheaper," Dr. Boom said. "Oil and gas, obviously, is a perfect example of that. In healthcare, because of the way things are priced, oftentimes technology actually drives costs."

Some advances in technology have produced superior health outcomes but at a great cost. Dr. Boom referenced how aortic valve replacement, which once required open-heart surgery, today is completed via a catheter inserted through a patient's groin.

"Shouldn't that decrease costs?" Dr. Boom said. "For a variety of reasons, the cost of the valve that goes in is actually higher-cost than what we were using before."

Technology has also increased long-term healthcare spending by extending human life expectancy.

"What's happened is that people don't die early of their heart attack, they don't die early of their cancer," Dr. Boom said. "And then they live into their 80s and their 90s, and they get chronic neurological diseases," which require significant resources to treat.

The article can be accessed in full here.

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