Are These Devices Worth the Investment?

A new list breaks down ten recent medical innovations and gives executives practical steps to determine whether the technology is right for their hospital.

A new list breaks down ten recent medical innovations and gives executives practical steps to determine whether the technology is right for their hospital.

Marie Thibault

The capabilities of today's medical technology offerings may seem ever-expanding, but unfortunately hospital budgets have a firm limit. That leaves hospital executives with the dilemma of trying to determine which new medical products are the best investment for their facilities.

A number of factors can play a role in hospital purchasing decisions--budgets, priority areas of therapy, competition from other neighboring facilities, and long-term visions. A new report from the ECRI Institute, "2017 Top 10 Hospital C-Suite Watch List," takes a close look at ten new medical technologies, offering hospital executives background on the products and questions to answer before deciding whether to invest in the new offerings.

The list of technologies ranges from the broad, including the category of liquid biopsies, to the specific, including the Hill Rom/Trumpf Medical TruSystem 7000dv operating room table and Intuitive Surgical Integrated Table Motion software.

"Navigating new technologies is one of the biggest challenges we hear about from hospital leaders," Robert Maliff, director of the Applied Solutions Group at ECRI Institute, said in a press release. "They simply can't afford to miss the mark on which clinical advancements to bring in to improve patient care."

One particularly buzzy new product, humanoid robot Pepper, made the list of technologies to consider carefully. The authors noted that Pepper was placed in two hospitals in Belgium last year and that "Pepper can be programmed to suit the environment in which it is placed."

The report authors wrote that executives thinking about bringing Pepper into their own hospitals should consider where the robot would fit best, pros and cons, how it would impact the patient experience, whether it could offer a competitive advantage, and what languages would need to be incorporated into Pepper's vocabulary for their specific patient population.

Not all of the technologies highlighted are products ready for purchase. One such innovation is a presurgery preparation program, like a pilot program implemented at The University of Michigan for abdominal surgery. The ECRI Institute authors urge hospital executives considering a similar program to determine which patients would benefit most, plan and procure the necessary resources, and to start with a pilot program in one area of surgery. "Review results, and determine whether the pilot protocol implemented is scalable in your health system," the authors wrote.

"As new technologies come and go, ECRI remains steadfast in its mission to keep healthcare leaders' technology decisions tethered to their patients' needs while keeping an eye trained on evidence-based research," Diane Robertson, director of the Health Technology Assessment Information Service at ECRI Institute, said in the release.

Marie Thibault is the managing editor at MD+DI. Reach her at and on Twitter @MedTechMarie.

[Image courtesy of QIMONO/PIXABAY]

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