How Can Medical Technology Both Help and Hurt Us?

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Technology is a two edged sword. It does provide access to information, knowledge, intervention that was previously unimaginable by earlier generations of health professionals and civilizations. At the same time, many technologies are prone to misuse, to overuse, to inappropriate use, and these create problems, sometimes information problems that lead to inappropriate further testing and treatment, sometimes cost problems that are simply attendant to the use of the technology.

I think we want our physicians to have the full array of technology capabilities available to them. At the same time, we want the incentives for use, and particularly for payment to our clinicians not to lead to inappropriate use or misuse of the technology. We can do both but it takes a system design that simultaneously makes these technologies available and rewards clinicians for prudent use.