The Advanced Medical Technology Association’s (AdvaMed) study on estimates of medical device spending in the US, found that medical technology is a small and slow growing part of national health expenditures (NHE). The report found that in 2006, medical device spending totaled $131.6 billion or 6.2% of total NHE ($2,112.7 billion) and that during the 18-year period covered by the study (1989-2006).
As per report, medical device spending rose only slightly as a percent of NHE-growing from 5.4% in 1989 to 6.2% in 2006- a 0.8 percentage point increase over the 18-year period. The authors were health actuary, Guy King, and an expert on economic accounting, Gerald Donahoe participated in this study.
During much of the eighteen year period, 1989-2006, a significant driver of changed medical practice has been the development of new medical devices—from stents to implantable defibrillators to artificial hips and knees to new imaging modalities to new diagnostic tests to new surgical tools. In view of the conventional wisdom about the role of medical technology in driving up costs, it is surprising that the cost of medical devices has risen little as a share of total national health expenditures. It is also striking that, unlike most other areas of medicine, the prices of medical devices have actually been growing more slowly not only than the Medical Consumer Price Index (MCPI) but than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as a whole.