Newspapers Examine Advances in Health Care Technology
Two newspapers on Wednesday examined the use of new communication technologies in the medical community. Summaries appear below.
New York Times: The Times on Wednesday profiled slp3d, a company that broadcasts surgical operations over the Internet. Slp3d originated as an educational tool for high-level surgeons to lecture doctors in the same specialty, but prospective patients frequently watch the broadcasts to select procedures or choose a surgeon. Slp3d features complex operations such as heart valve replacements and organ transplants and also exhibits new medical devices. According to the Times, the webcasts typically are procedures that are "relatively new but less daring than those seen at medical conferences." Though procedures typically focus on life-threatening conditions, the site also has featured procedures for torn rotator cuffs, degenerated knees, varicose veins and excess folds of skin left after gastric bypass surgery. Doctors who log on to the site can take an online quiz at the end of a procedure to receive continuing education credits. Slp3d charges hospitals $35,000 to $40,000 to create the webcasts, which they "are willing to pay if they think doctors will refer patients to them as a result," the Times reports (Feder, New York Times, 7/6).