Have we reached ‘peak tech’ in healthcare innovation?

Citing 3D imaging as an example of a high-cost medical technology with unclear benefits to patients, the authors of a review article posted August 8 in the Harvard Business Review make the case that gee-whiz advances have passed their peak as means of achieving optimal safety and efficacy.

Attention “must now turn to innovations in how people enact their work ‘on the ground,’ or how they organize in real time for reliable surgical performance,” write Amir Ghaferi, MD, of the University of Michigan and colleagues.

“Similar to how improvements in smartphones have shifted from increasing processor speed or screen resolution to focusing on better user experience,” they contend, “innovation in surgery has to shift from the technical or structural aspects to emphasizing how people, processes, and practices come together in the pursuit of patient safety.”

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