Blog | Thursday, January 26, 2012

QD: News Every Day--Top 10 technologies a hospital might test this year

A top 10 list of important technologies and technology-related issues that hospital and health system leaders should pay close attention to this year questions each the need for each one based on economics, patient safety, reimbursement and regulatory pressures, as assessed by staff at the ECRI Institute.

1) Electronic health records: Hospitals will need not only IT infrastructure, but also the ability to integrate patient care device data into the electronic health record.
2) Minimally invasive bariatric surgery: Hospitals will need to develop interdisciplinary teams, invest in equipment, care setting and staffing models
3) 3D digital breast tomosynthesis: It requires more capital outlay and operational costs without a clear clinical benefit, and it doesn't replace full-field digital mammography.
4) New CT radiation reduction technologies: dose monitoring and measuring are critical to achieving lower radiation doses, and this aspect of the treatment is as important as the technology itself
5) Transcatheter heart valve implantation: hybrid cath lab models may be the ultimate destination for many of these procedures due to its lower cost and patient volumes. But this may happen only after procedures mature and proficiencies improve.
6) Robotic-assisted surgery: There's steady growth in the number and types of surgeries being done, despite a lack of definitive evidence for the superiority of it compared to traditional laparoscopic surgery.
7) New cardiac stent developments: A 60% use for off-label indications, high complication rates from treating bifurcated lesions with current stents, and higher-than-desired reocclusion and reintervention rates all signal the need for a more personalized approach to stents.
8) Ultrahigh-field-strength MRI systems: 3T systems offer better image resolution than their 1.5T counterparts, but cost about $1 million more than standard systems. Looming next: 7T systems.
9) Personalized therapeutic vaccines for cancer: The many new and high-cost pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies can cost $100,000 and more per patients, and they are all add-ons to existing therapy regimens.
10) Proton beam radiation therapy: Building these centers is a monstrous cost, as is running them. But no randomized controlled trials have proven to be more effective than photon beam treatments. And even newer (but just as expensive) regimens are also in development, carbon ions.

"Themes emerging on our 2012 list reflect ongoing impacts of healthcare reform initiatives and new technology developments that emphasize patient-centered care, including safety improvement, interconnectedness of technology, personalized medicine catering to individual care needs and preferences, and ever-increasing cost pressures," ECRI staff wrote in their white paper. "While the imperative to integrate health information technology with healthcare technology marches on, emerging devices, drugs, and procedures are tailored more than ever to individual patients' medical characteristics."