What Role Does Technology Play in Medicine?

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Various huge over use of technology for medicine in the United States. Sometimes we use technologies that we think might work and we don't use technologies that we know work, for example 85% of men over the age of 50 in the United States have had prostate cancer screening with the serum PSA.

It is a test we don't know if it saves lives just in the last two years we've had some studies, some studies that are controversial that suggest that it saves lives. After more than 22 years of screening we finally have a study that actually suggests that it might save lives. Now we've got another five study that suggests that it does not, but we've been screening for over two decades without a study that shows that it saves lives.

85% of American men over 50 have gotten a test at least once. Now, let's look at colon cancer screening. There is no doubt that colon cancer screening saves lives, be it Colonoscopy, Sigmoidoscopy which is looking at only part of the bowel, or stool-blood testing which costs about $30 a year.

All of them save lives yet less than half of adult men over the age of 50 have ever gotten colon cancer screening. It just doesn't make sense. When you look at our technologies in the United States, we have three times as many CAT scanners or CT scanners as in Canada. We have five times as many MRI scanners as in Canada yet when you look at our outcomes, let's look at life expectancy, the United States is 50th in life expectancy among the United Nations countries, Canada is 10th in life expectancy.

One can actually say we don't make people live badly, but we sure do a much better job of taking pictures of people dying.