Overuse of technology drives up costs

Two prominent Harvard economists have come up with a unique way to curb spending on healthcare: Rely less on technology.

In a paper presented last week at a Federal Reserve Bank symposium, Kathleen Baicker and Amitabh Chandra argued that hospitals should be less reliant on pricey and technology-heavy procedures such as angioplasties, claiming that their ability to deliver clinical benefits is not consistent, reports Bloomberg.

The pair also argue against cutting Medicare payments in order to save money. They claim that since payments are based on the procedure performed rather than the outcome, physicians do not have a financial incentive to gauge the success of the work they are performing. Baicker and Chandra claim that an outcomes-based financial system could cut overall healthcare spending by 30 percent.

However, the economists are skeptical their recommendations will get any traction with policymakers. "I'm not optimistic about what Congress will do about the growth of healthcare spending," Chandra told Bloomberg.

For more information:
- read the Bloomberg article
- read the opinion article about the downsides of new cancer treatments