Technology to Scale Design

In nearly every sector of the economy, technology drives costs down – just as your digital camera gets cheaper and better every year, so technology drives down the cost of manufacturing, the cost of retailing, the cost of research. But for some reason, in healthcare, technology has the opposite effect; it doesn’t cut costs, it raises them.

There are a couple reasons for this. For one thing, there’s far too little price transparency in the medical technology market. Without an open marketplace of prices and services, it’s difficult for hospitals and clinics to know whether there’s a better deal elsewhere, and manufacturers can keep costs high. Secondly and perhaps more significantly, medical technologies still tend to rely on an expert class to actually deploy the technology.

So, unlike most other trends in technology, healthcare technology has great difficulty in scaling down to the point of no more expert class.

How many schools are teaming with student twitter even as main office clerks plod over account after account by mammoth paperwork? Outside of government contracts, most public enterprises are slow to benefit from new technology because private developers have more motive to protect their profits by keeping offerings removed. New design must create the incentives to bring technology down to scale.


Filed under: Design, TECHNOLOGY

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