The dynamics of innovation in minimally invasive therapy
The emergence of minimally invasive therapy (MIT), which provides alternatives to major open-surgery procedures, is affecting all aspects of medical care delivery. In the present environment of resource and cost constraint in health services, an uncommon consensus among patients, physicians, providers, and payers has evolved regarding the rapid acceptance of this area of medical intervention, an acceptance that, in turn, is stimulating further innovation. This paper discusses the dynamics of medical innovation and analyzes these forces in the context of three minimally invasive therapies: percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, and laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The different experiences of the United States and Europe are used to illustrate how scientific, medical, economic, and regulatory factors affect both the rate and direction of technological change in minimally invasive therapy.