HEALTH TECHNOLOGY: MORAL HAZARD, INEFFICIENCIES, AND SOLUTIONS pp. 3-7
Authors: (Read G. Pierce, Dept. of Internal Medicine, Univ. of California, San Francisco, Kevin J. Bozic, Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery, Philip R. Lee, Institute for Health Policy Studies, Univ. of California, San Francisco)
Abstract: Rapidly rising health care costs in developed nations continue to be a major policy issue, and health technology (HT) adoption and utilization is frequently singled out as a primary driver of cost inflation. In the U.S., health systems and physicians enthusiastically acquire HT to further the scope and quality of patient care services, compete against other providers for patients, and enhance the financial viability of their practice. Patients pursue expensive HT in response to information asymmetry, which leads them to associate high-tech care with quality, and inefficient insurance coverage that shelters them from the true costs of their care. The resulting moral hazard threatens to reduce further technological innovation, as third party payers seek to control health care spending. To date, insurers and policymaker have yet to find an effective or popular strategy for encouraging more rational HT use. We propose four mechanisms for realigning incentives and risks to promote value-based technology adoption and utilization by health systems, physicians, and patients.