Research

Technology changing the face of health care

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There is a surge in certain medical tests because of recent boom in medical technology. Amy Bernstein a health scientist for the National Center for Health Statistics has reported that imaging, assisted reproductive technologies, prescription drugs and knee replacements have all seen a dramatic rise since the early 1990s. The center, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released the 33rd annual Report on the Nation’s Health. It includes a special section on health technology. According to Bernstein there are newer and better technologies all the time, and they’re changing the face of health care and practice patterns. The use of statin drugs, which lower cholesterol, increased almost tenfold from 1994 to 2006 over 45 years of age. One of the reasons cholesterol is declining and people are living longer with heart disease is because of the reason that we are using better drugs.

Imaging: Rate of MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT/PET (computed tomography/positron emission tomography) scans ordered or provided in doctors offices and emergency departments tripled from 1996 to 2007. Knee replacement: Rate of adults 45 and over discharged from the hospital after receiving at least one knee replacement increased 70% from 1996 to 2006 (26.5 per 10,000 in 1996 vs. 45.2 per 10,000 in 2006). Diabetes medicines: Anti-diabetic drug use by people 45 and up increased about 55% when comparing 1988-1994 with 2003-2006 figures. Kidney transplants: New kidney transplants per 1 million people have risen 31% (43.7 per 1 million in 1997 vs. 57.2 in 2006). Liver transplants: They rose 42% from 1997 to 2006 (15.6 per 1 million in 1997 vs. 22.2 in 2006). Prescription drugs: The percentage of the population taking at least one prescription drug during the previous month increased from 38% in 1988-1994 to 47% in 2003-2006, and the percentage taking three or more prescription drugs increased from 11% to 21%.

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