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10 Hospital Technologies to Watch Carefully

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 9, 2012

"Some U.S. bariatric surgeons have expressed concern that accounts of substantial weight loss in a short time span using this procedure, compared to other weight loss surgeries, may drive patient demand before sufficient evidence is available to support safety and efficacy," the report says.

Other approaches include devices implanted with an endoscope through the mouth such as the EndoBarrier Gastrointestinal Linder, the intragastric balloon and an implanted intra-abdominal vagus nerve blocking system that signals satiety.

3. Digital Breast Tomosynthesis
3-D digital breast tomosynthesis, which minimizes the shadowing effect of tissue by taking pictures in thin sections, improves diagnostic accuracy, but is hard on budgets and operational costs and the clinical benefit is unclear, the report says. Also, it does not replace full-field digital mammography but must be used in addition.

Additionally, full-field digital mammography images require a lot more expense for data storage.

4. New CT Radiation Reduction Technologies
A few years ago, the dominant topic for CT radiologists was how many slices on could attain: 32, 64, 128. Now, the focus is on reducing radiation.

Now, precision engineering and computer controls eliminate radiation doses that don't add meaningful information to the image, the report says. These "iterative reconstruction" systems currently " are available on only the most advanced platforms and cannot be retrofitted to existing systems.

However, "ECRI Institute believes that tools to assess the amount of radiation dose delivered during a CT scan are just as important as CT scanner technology and will be vital for optimizing CT dose."

5. Transcatheter Heart Valve Implants
Minimally invasive transcatheter aortic valve surgery techniques are promising enough that hospital executives should be planning for the infrastructure and staffing models required.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is considering requests for a national coverage decision for these valve techniques from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and the American College of Cardiology. A decision is expected between June and September.

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