Technological Advances Can Solve Our Current Health Care Crisis

Wed, 12/07/2011 - 5:35am
Hiep Nguyen, MD

It can’t be ignored that dramatic transformation in our healthcare system is imminent. The economy, market forces and increasing political demands will soon force physicians and healthcare professionals to change how we take care of our patients. Just as the days of housecalls are gone, so is our current system of delivering care.

The rising cost of healthcare now has the government and insurance companies placing more emphasis on controlling costs, sometimes at the expense of quality. They demand that we become more efficient and manage an even greater number of patients. Advancements in medical technology are believed to be a principal cause of the rising cost of healthcare: While they have improved patient care, they often come with a high price tag.

Does that mean we should abandon them? My answer is to play with robots.

Technology can help us deliver care that is more efficient, cost-effective and, most importantly, of high quality. As a surgeon, for example, I see one aspect of our care that needs to evolve: post-operative care. Traditionally, we have patients recover in the hospital so they can be monitored for complications and cared for until they are able to manage for themselves at home. Some patients may only need low-level care and monitoring, but cannot be discharged to their homes without significant risks.

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