The medical market is constantly growing and evolving. As new techniques and tools are developed, diagnostic and therapeutic options improve each day. But innovation can also be harmful to healthcare. If not used properly, it can lead to medical errors and increase healthcare costs. That’s why training today’s doctors is so vital. So how can we make new technology accessible to more surgeons? A new, innovative training model is needed — one where peers train each other rather than the corporations that make and sell the technology.
Both healthcare systems and providers struggle to decide whether to invest in new technologies. Innovation allows physicians to detect diseases earlier, treat patients more effectively and cure diseases faster. It can also reduce long-term costs to health systems, since procedures that originally required several nights’ hospital stay can now be fixed in an outpatient setting. However, innovation also means investments in staff training and higher short-term expenses for health systems. So how can surgeons adopt innovation without the high costs?
From the perspective of both physicians and corporations, medical mentoring between peers is vital since launching new technology without proper training can be disastrous. Training helps physicians implement new technology in a very practical way for their patients. But to be effective, training must evolve from the marketing-oriented models of the past. That’s why a more comprehensive training model is needed.
Improving Patient Care
Improving patient care goes hand in hand with innovation. Patients today are highly educated and highly involved in their treatment choices. They expect their doctor to be well versed on the latest technological innovations! The challenge for surgeons is being able to connect with their more experienced peers who can teach them the nuances of new procedures. Physicians that don’t have these opportunities risk lagging behind in their field and offering substandard care to their patients.
Medical mentoring allows physicians to pass on their knowledge and help each other understand the “ins and outs” of new technology. When a physician understands a new technology to its full extent, he or she is better able to master it and, most of all, properly use it when the patient really needs it. Once a physician grasps the full possibilities and limitations of a new technology, he can be confident in advising patients about its risks and benefits.
Restricting Rising Healthcare Costs
New technologies mean healthcare systems must expend additional costs to purchase new equipment, stage the procedure rooms, and train clinical staff to handle the technology safely and with skill. Otherwise, medical errors, post-operative complications and corrective procedures could occur, leading to further skyrocketing costs. The mere investment in technology comes with a price.
Medical mentoring, or peer training, is the most logical way to curb the costs of new technology. Historically, only “corporate-appointed” trainers taught physicians how to use new medical devices. As useful this approach was, it also has its limitations. Today’s surgeons need practical, real-world surgical training that is truly tailored to their needs. Surgeons who are trained by their peers are more likely to use new technology more conservatively, reducing the overall costs of the procedure. In fact, institutions and insurers benefit enormously, because peer training is often sponsored by the surgeons themselves or the corporations that develop the new technology, at no cost to them.
The Prognosis: Is Medical Mentoring the Cure?
Medical mentoring combines the best of both worlds: the expertise of the surgeon and the assets of the corporate innovators. Corporations benefit financially from enthusiastic physicians who spread the word about the new technology to their peers from a real-life point of view. Surgeons benefit by being able to master the new technology quickly and achieve better health outcomes. Connecting doctors with their peers is the first step. Invivox currently provides access to hundreds of peer-to-peer training opportunities for a range of surgical specialties.