Does High Tech Mean a Better Outcome?

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Many of our aging parents live with heart issues, and making treatment decisions is not easy. Weighing all the evidence is especially difficult when we must decide between a high-tech, surgical procedures (heart bypass surgery or cardiac catheterization) or medications combined with lifestyle changes, and it’s even more confusing when both of these treatment options have similar outcomes. Somehow, no matter whose health we are considering, state-of-the-art seems to reach out to us.

Check out Costly Heart Procedures Thrive in Some Places, Despite Cheaper Alternatives over at the NPR Shots blog. The post describes a Michigan research study that examines why some physicians continue to perform expensive heart procedures even though better and less expensive options, with similar outcomes, are available.

The data suggest an association between the increased number of cardiac catheterization labs and increased use of intervention procedures.

Take a few minutes to look over the interesting graphs and charts at the study site. Or download a PDF of the research findings.

You can also learn more about how one hospital changed its practices by listening to this May, 3, 2012 audio clip from the American Public Media radio program, Marketplace.

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