Your robot anesthesiologist (the forward march of progress)
A new system called Sedasys, made by Johnson & Johnson, JNJ -1.31% would automate the sedation of many patients undergoing colon-cancer screenings called colonoscopies. That could take anesthesiologists out of the room, eliminating a big source of income for the doctors. More than $1 billion is spent each year sedating patients undergoing otherwise painful colonoscopies, according to a RAND Corp. study that J&J sponsored.
J&J hopes the potential savings from using Sedasys will appeal to hospitals and clinics and drive machine sales, which are set to begin early next year. Sedasys “is a great way to improve care and reduce costs,” J&J CEO Alex Gorsky said in an interview.
Anesthesiologists’ services usually cost more than the $200 to $400 generally charged by physicians performing the actual colon-cancer screenings, says health-plan CDPHP in New York state. An anesthesiologist’s involvement typically adds $600 to $2,000 to the procedure’s cost, according to a research letter published online by JAMA Internal Medicine in July.
By contrast, Sedasys would cost about $150 a procedure, according to people familiar with J&J’s pricing plans. Hospitals and clinics won’t buy the machines, instead paying a fee each time they use the device, these people say. The $150 would cover maintenance and all the costs of performing the procedure except the sedating drug used, which would add a few dollars, one of the people says.
Here is more. As you might expect, anesthesiologists are convinced this is a bad idea.