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La tecnología médica beneficia los E.E.U.U. economía

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | July 18, 2014
Anusuya Chatterjee
In the U.S., there is a rise in chronic diseases as number of elderly Americans increases and sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets become more prevalent. Some in the health care industry think that medical technology can effectively prevent and manage the illnesses, but others believe that the economic benefits don’t offset the costs.

The Milken Institute set out to investigate what type of impact medical technology has on the economic burden of disease. They released a study yesterday that found that it has a positive benefit of over $23 billion per year in the U.S.

“In a time when there are so many changes in health care delivery and the incentives system and a concern over the cost of care, the debate about whether there should be more technological innovations or not keeps on going,” Anusuya Chatterjee, author of the study and senior economist at the institute, told DOTmed News.

She added that the study revealed that it’s worth investing in medical technology because of the immense benefit it brings to individuals, as well as society as a whole through economic growth.

The study focused on four of the most debilitating diseases in the country — heart disease, diabetes, colorectal cancer and musculoskeletal disease. They looked at 10 devices or device-based procedures that are used to treat the diseases including angioplasty, insulin infusion pumps, colonoscopies and joint replacement surgery.

The researchers found that the medical technology brings significant economic benefits both in terms of total savings in treatment expenses and prevention, as well as indirect benefits. Since the technology usually improves the chances of curing a patient’s condition, it can improve the economy by increasing the number of people in the workforce and strengthening on-job performance.

It also increases the amount of federal income tax revenue that is generated because the employees can work better and longer, said Chatterjee.

The study also investigated what sort of impact technological innovation will have in the future if it continues to accelerate. They found that by 2035, medical technology innovations will lead to a cumulative $1.4 trillion gain for the economy.

Even though the study did not explore the U.S. policies that might have an effect on incentives to invest in technology development, it did mention that those incentives have important consequences for the economic costs and benefits that the health care system creates.

The researchers also noted that a reduction in incentives would lead to a substantial increase in net costs — 3.4 trillion dollars — and they believe that it would be “penny wise and pound foolish.”

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