Reassessing the Value of Minimally Invasive Technologies in the Era of COVID-19

Darius Lakdawalla of the University of Southern California analyzes why the COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to rethink the use of minimally invasive technologies.

The emergence of COVID-19 threatens to strain U.S. healthcare resources for the foreseeable future. In a white paper, Darius Lakdawalla, of the University of Southern California, and his coauthors discuss the use of minimally invasive technologies as a means to reduce burdens on providers and hospitals, and also shield patients from unnecessary exposure to infection.

Key takeaways include:

  • Minimally invasive technologies are capacity-conserving technologies that could reduce burdens on healthcare providers and hospitals while also shielding patients from unnecessary in-hospital exposure to pathogens.
  • Current payment systems that encourage bed volume and labor-intensive procedures make capacity-conserving alternatives less attractive.
  • Better policies would support greater investment in minimally invasive technologies and a more holistic notion of value.

This paper was originally published by the USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics in March 2021.


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