Evaluating New Medical Technology

Evaluating New Medical Technology —“All That Glitters is Not Gold!”

Every week the media reports on a new breakthrough in surgery. Some of these advances help surgeons achieve results than were only dreamt of 20 years ago. But, as the old saying goes, “Not everything that glitters is gold”, and as a result Dr. Rahman takes a very balanced approach to adopting technological advances. In this article, you can learn how Dr. Rahman determines if he is going to start to use a new technology.

Sometimes, medicine isn’t as complex as it sounds! For instance, Dr. Rahman has a very simple test for deciding whether or not to use a new technology in surgery, it’s called the “The Family Test”. When Dr. Rahman encounters a new surgical breakthrough or invention, he asks himself:

“Would I be pleased if this new invention was used in surgery on a member of my own family?”

It’s a simple question, and one that he answers by considering three factors:

  • What’s the Evidence?
    Before adopting a new technology, Dr. Rahman carefully investigates the scientific literature. Has the technology been proven to be successful and safe in a large number of patients? Have there been any complications? Is the new technology really any better than we currently use?
    If the scientific literature is favorable, only then will Dr. Rahman go to the next step.
  • Practice Makes Perfect
    Dr. Rahman’s next step is to get trained in using the new invention. The training will not involve patients, but will involve much work in labs, often using special training models. This training period may occur over several months, and only when he is convinced that he can master the new technology will he go to the next stage.
  • Learn From a Master
    If Dr. Rahman has made the decision that he’s going to adopt the new technology, he still will not suddenly start using it on patients. His next step is to spend time with other surgeons who are using the new technology, seeing how they use it in the operating room, and even working with them during surgery. Only when he has gained sufficient experience in the operating room alongside another surgeon, will Dr. Rahman then consider introducing the technology into his own operating room.

Dr. Rahman’s cautious approach helps to ensure that he adopts only the most safe and effective advances; the ones that truly benefit his patients.