A sad state of affairs

It is so frustrating to read anecdotes like this (makes me want to pull my hair out):

IMAGINE A PORTABLE, LOW-INTENSITY X-ray machine that can be wheeled between offices on a small cart. It creates images of such clarity that pediatricians, internists, and nurses can detect cracks in bones or lumps in tissue in their offices, not in a hospital. It works through a patented “nanocrystal” process, which uses night-vision technology borrowed from the military. At 10% of the cost of a conventional X-ray machine, it could save patients, their employers, and insurance companies hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. Great innovation, right? Guess again. When the entrepreneur who developed the machine tried to license the technology to established health care companies, he couldn’t even get his foot in the door. Large-scale X-ray equipment suppliers wanted no part of it. Why? Because it threatened their business models.

What happened to the X-ray entrepreneur is all too common in the health care industry. Powerful institutional forces fight simpler alternatives to expensive care because those alternatives threaten their livelihoods. And those opponents to low-cost change are usually lined up three or four deep.

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