Downsides of Advanced Medical Devices: What Every Patient Must Know

Over the years, medical devices have emerged as saviors for patients and practitioners alike. With the growing burden on the formal health care system, patients are required to leave hospitals sooner rather than later. They still need care because recovery is a long way to go. Likewise, some patients require ongoing monitoring, treatment, and care for the long haul.

Caregivers recommend advanced medical devices to help patients manage their own health in noninstitutional settings. An implantable port is a good example as it helps with repeat intravenous infusions and tests. Wearable medical devices are also widely used for monitoring and management of symptoms. Surveys show that around 35% of Americans use wearable healthcare devices. 

Despite the popularity and widespread use of medical devices in the US, all isn’t great about them. Did you know that 13,623 medical devices were recalled between 2018 and 2022? The numbers show how complicated things can get for patients using these devices. Awareness is crucial to make informed decisions regarding their usage.

We will highlight the potential downsides of advanced medical devices that every patient should know about.

Risks and Side Effects

According to statistics, 40 innovative medical devices got approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2020. The number translates into a 25% increase in the approval rates. However, not all devices are equal, and a few of them may have dire risks and side effects. Allergic reactions, infections, and local tissue damage are common concerns for patients relying on them.

Bard Power Port is an instance that deserves attention in this context. The implantable port facilitates vascular access and medicine delivery. However, the recent Bard Power Port lawsuit cases show the controversial nature of the product. The FDA also announced a recall for the product in 2020, which was later terminated in 2022. Despite the termination of the recall, concerns still surround the product.

TorHoerman Law notes that the lawsuit against manufacturers is ongoing. As per the latest update, these cases have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL). While patients may seek legal respite for their pain and suffering, it is always better to avoid high-risk devices in the first place. 

User Training Challenges

Even if a medical device has minimal health risks and side effects, user training may be a significant challenge. The complexity of advanced products requires healthcare providers to undergo specialized training. Studies show that patients using these devices at home also have high technical needs to operate them safely and effectively.

Frequent updates in device technologies are another hindrance because healthcare professionals need to maintain their competency levels. Lack of adequate training may lead to usage errors, compromising overall treatment outcomes and patient errors. No matter how beneficial a device is, it can quickly become a danger for patients due to human oversight. 

High Cost and Financial Implications

Over the years, the increasing cost of materials and component shortages have affected the medical device industry. The trend is expected to continue in 2023 and beyond, making medical devices unaffordable for many patients. The financial burden is massive for healthcare systems, institutions, and patients.

The high cost of advanced medical devices is a barrier to the accessibility of cutting-edge treatments and creates disparities in care. People with financial constraints are disadvantaged because they cannot access the same quality of care as rich patients. It may lead to a decline in trust in the healthcare industry as a whole. 

Overdiagnosis and Unnecessary Treatments

Did you know that unnecessary medical treatment leads to a whopping waste of $200 billion in the US every year? On an individual level, the expense can be painful for patients because they also go through the physical trauma of unnecessary procedures. Advanced medical devices, with their precision and sensitivity, contribute to the problem of overdiagnosis.

They can detect and report conditions that may not even have clinical significance. Overreliance on technology in diagnostics also diminishes the role of clinical judgment in the medical decision-making processes. It often leads to unnecessary treatments, increasing healthcare costs and causing potential patient harm in the long run. The intervention of healthcare professionals is vital to address the pitfalls of overdiagnosis

Wrapping Up

Undeniably, advanced medical devices have transformed patient care in many ways. But you should acknowledge their downsides and address them with appropriate measures. Side effects will be there, but you can dig deep to understand them and look for better options. Similarly, proper training and awareness regarding device use can help you achieve the best outcomes. 

Providers should ensure affordability and steer clear of overdependence on these devices for diagnostics. With the right approach, it is possible to overcome the potential challenges and maximize the opportunities for top-quality care with medical devices. 

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