Updated Technology More Crucial than Hospital Quality for Prostate Cancer Patients, U.K. Study Finds

Updated Technology More Crucial than Hospital Quality for Prostate Cancer Patients, U.K. Study Finds
Men with prostate cancer patients may choose where to have surgery based on the availability of new technology over what they know about the quality of the hospital itself, a British study finds. The hospital's reputation and its doctors also influence the decision-making process, concludes the report, “Effect of patient choice and hospital competition on service configuration and technology adoption within cancer surgery: a national, population-based study,” which appeared The Lancet Oncology. “It appears that patients use the availability of robotic prostatectomy as an indicator of high quality care, despite a lack of evidence of its superiority compared with open surgery," Ajay Aggarwal, the study's lead author, said in a press release. "NHS [National Health Service] hospitals are investing millions of pounds into new and sometimes unproven technologies which have a direct impact on the type of care patients receive.” The authors’ assessment is that competition among hospitals — in addition to policies promoting centralization and the requirement to do minimum numbers of surgical procedures — have consequently increased investment in equipment for robotic surgery, even without any evidence of superior outcomes. But if men don't have access to quality performance and outcome indicators, such policies could threaten the ability of hospitals to deliver equitable and affordable healthcare, said researchers. The study looked at more than 19,000 men who had their prostates removed through the NHS between 2010 and 2014. The team recorded where these patients lived and where they had surgery. With the aid of previous work, researchers found that one-third of men who had a radical prostatectomy traveled beyond their nearest prostate cancer sur
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