Another example of fawning coverage of medical technology.
Another example of obsequious news on the DaVinci robotic surgical system, about which I’ve written earlier. (In fact, an earlier post just this week about the President playing with a robot at the Cleveland Clinic.)
A story in The Oklahoman reports on a university medical center’s new DaVinci robotic surgical system for prostate cancer.
It failed to report on the limited evidence to support this approach. The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality states that there hasn’t been enough research to know how this approach compares with others.
It also failed to look at the apparent burgeoning medical arms race in Oklahoma City – just for prostate cancer much less anything else. One center is bragging about its latest generation robot. Another center is bragging about its even more expensive proton beam therapy.
Wouldn’t that be a good story?
How local newspapers deal with issues of medical technology assessment, of community ascertainment of need, of resource allocation. of costs, of evidence is vital to public understanding of why we spend more than any other country on health care without the outcomes to show for it. Stories can educate or they can advertise. This one falls in the latter category.
(Hat tip to Craig Stoltz, from whom I borrowed the “wide-eyed new-technology-in-town” phrase, and who helped with the review of the story in question.)