Archive Hot Technology 2018

On Point

Give New Technologies a Chance

James Geiger

James Geiger, MD


Operating Room
FAST FORWARD Invest in the future of care to keep pace with surgery's rapid evolution.

Laparoscopic surgery was a revolutionary idea 30 years ago. Now surgeons remove gallbladders through a single incision with instrument-wielding robots. Joint replacement patients were laid up in hospital beds for days just 5 years ago. Today they're home in time for dinner. What will be surgery's next game-changing development? You can help determine it.

We need to give alternative, disruptive technologies a chance to take hold and fulfill the promise of their potential. You might compare the cost of adding a new device to the common denominator: the product or platform it will replace today. That's a fair, but incomplete assessment. Surgical innovation will be tempered if every decision to add new technology is based on cost alone. That's why you should consider allocating some portion of your capital equipment budget to adding innovative technologies. Figure out a cost model that lets you try out new devices and evaluate their utility properly in a real-world clinical setting. We won't know the true value of new devices, and what benefit they will bring to surgery, if facilities don't give them chances to make a real difference in the care we provide.

I'm not advocating for your facility to finance the first chance for every new piece of technology your surgeons want to add, but there are economically responsible ways to help advance innovation. There's also a potential and often overlooked return on investment you'll realize by taking a chance on investing in groundbreaking technology. If it works and takes hold, your facility will be viewed as trend-setting among surgeons who will want to bring their cases to your ORs and patients who will want to have their procedures done where the cutting edge of care happens. You'll run a facility that moves the needle of surgical innovation. That's a great position to be in and a great reputation to have.

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