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The Unintended Consequences of Rapid Innovation and an Aging Population.

The Unintended Consequences of Rapid Innovation and an Aging Population.

Finding a way to better train our surgeons and get insight into the technical ability of our providers is paramount to patient safety.

The pace of advances in our ability to treat disease and injury over the last century is truly astonishing. New studies show that, by 2020, medical knowledge will double every 73 days compared to doubling every 50 years in the 1950s (Denson, 2011). While this has opened the door to new life-saving options, in general, new medical technologies are far more complicated than simpler techniques from the past. We have failed to update our medical training system to recognize these complications and it is placing constraints on surgeons of all levels and medical device companies. Finding a way to better train our surgeons and get insight into the technical ability of our providers is paramount to patient safety. It is also vital to the innovation and adoption of new medical devices. Misuse and adverse events can largely be avoided with proper training.

There is an additional issue putting pressure on our medical education system: an aging population that requires more surgery with fewer surgeons to treat them. The need for competent surgeons will be great.

  • Baby boomers will be 17 percent of the U.S. population by 2020 and will require more surgeries. By 2030, the number of Americans over the age of 65 will have grown by 55 percent.
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) predicts that a shortage of physicians in the U.S. is going to grow worse, with a shortfall as high as 34,000 to 88,000 doctors by 2025. By 2030, the shortfall is expected to total anywhere from 40,800 to 104,900 doctors.

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