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Medical Innovation is Alive and Well

November 02, 2012
1:52 pm

When it comes to medical innovations, misconceptions persist.  That innovation drives higher health care costs, that it consists largely of “me too” advances that add little to existing healthcare tools and treatments, that innovation is confined to just the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

Anyone who visited the Cleveland Clinic’s annual Medical Innovation Summit this week would have those misconceptions quickly dispelled.

One of the highlights of the Summit is the announced selection, by an expert panel, of the top ten new healthcare innovations expected to emerge in the coming year.  This year’s list underscores both the vibrancy and diversity of what’s developing in various healthcare sectors.  The list includes:

•    A handheld device that dermatologists will be able to use in their offices to scan a patient’s skin lesions and compare them immediately to an online database of more than 10,000 types of melanoma and skin diseases.

•    Bariatric surgery for diabetes patients that, based on trials thus far, creates a likelihood that patients will be free of diabetes and have reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

•    Femtosecond (meaning one-quadrillionth of a second) laser surgery for cataract patients that is more predictable and accurate than conventional surgery using blades.  This bladeless approach requires less time within the eye, reducing the possibility of inflammation.

•    The Medicare Better Health Rewards Act of 2012, a measure that the Healthcare Leadership Council has strongly supported, that encourages greater wellness among seniors by creating financial incentives to participate in wellness checkups and taking steps to improve their overall health.

The full Top Ten list can be found here.

A Chicago Tribune article about the new innovations is found here.

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