Dell Medical School to host event on medical technology and rising cost of health care

Hojun Choi

Physicians and health care providers will be gathering on Wednesday, June 23 for an open lecture on how they can better cope with the rising costs of the healthcare industry.

The event, titled “MedTech Innovation Amid Changing Dynamics for Physicians, Hospitals and Consumers,” will be hosted by the Dell Medical School’s Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care, and will feature health economist Dr. James Robinson.

Dr. Kevin Bozic, chair of the surgery department, said that Robinson is a leader in the field of health innovation and finance. Bozic said that the seminar will give the UT community a chance to learn more about what physicians and health care providers have to consider when implementing new technologies, innovations and procedures.

“This is a rapidly changing industry, so having a balanced approach to evaluating how new technologies influence both cost and outcome, the two components of health care value, is a crucial capability for health care providers,” Bozic said.

Dr. Robert Cowan, president of the Travis County Medical Society, said that while the healthcare industry has always been forward-thinking, it is also important to remember that many technologies that hit the market ultimately fail.

Cowan said patients continue paying for what they deem is the most advanced treatment or medication, which fuels the demand for more expensive drugs, procedures and medical devices.

“I’m comfortable with the process that we use for drugs to come onto the market,” Cowan said. “The problem is that by the time that a new drug hits the market, not everyone can afford it and it becomes an ethical issue.”

Cowan said that physicians must not only understand pharmacology, but also the cost and effect of new devices and procedures. Cowan, who works as an OB-GYN, said his practice has recently adopted the use of robots for surgeries, which has made procedures less dangerous for the patient and shortened the recovery process.

Darren Selsky, senior vice president of Capsenta, a company developed at UT, said that an important part of designing health technology is to be cognitive of the costs that physicians as well as their patients will face.

"The key is to match the appropriate technology to the patient need,” Selsky said. “It's all about sizing the technology correctly.”

The Dell Medical School will be offering the seminar as continuing education credit for physicians. Bozic said that the whole UT community could benefit from understanding the financial burden behind improving healthcare.

“These types of events are unique learning opportunities for physicians and other community members with an interest in health care,” Bozic said. “They help to further the Dell Medical School mission of building a vital, inclusive health ecosystem.”

This seminar will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23 at the Bass Lecture Hall.