As they and the ECRI report point out, there is no evidence that proton beam treatments cure cancer or reduce side effects better than other treatments for adult cancers. Nevertheless, competing hospitals are building two of them 10 minutes apart in my town, San Diego, these will cost more than $200 million apiece.
3. Providing hope. Hospitals and doctors really, sincerely, honestly and truly (it's in their DNA) want to offer patients hope that some new technology can improve their chances of a better diagnoses, better treatment and a faster, better cure, even if the data doesn't yet say so. The same logic explains why many physicians still give patients with influenza a prescription for antibiotics.
4. It's a bargain. The vendor or sales rep is offering the hospital or physician a great deal, an opportunity to be first in their town or state, if the customer installs and markets the technology and advertises it in local media directly to consumers. Myers says physicians and vendors develop close relationships. "Physicians go out to dinner with these sales reps, they (become) their best friends and they go on vacations with them."
Kaufman says, "they might give you the MRI, but you have to pay for maintenance, buy upgrades, and the coils. And, if they give it to the right people, like the pundits at a university and they do research with it, that sells it too."
5. Philanthropic influence. A philanthropist, sometimes a member of the board, saw it elsewhere and thinks there should be one in his or her hometown in a building named accordingly, and may be willing to donate a portion of the expense.