Implementation of innovative medical technologies in German inpatient care: patterns of utilization and evidence development

Oct 30, 2021 | Dreger

BACKGROUND: Innovative medical technologies are commonly associated with positive expectations. At the time of their introduction into care, there is often little evidence available regarding their benefits and harms. Accordingly, some innovative medical technologies with a lack of evidence are used widely until or even though findings of adverse events emerge, while others with study results supporting their safety and effectiveness remain underused. This study aims at examining the diffusion patterns of innovative medical technologies in German inpatient care between 2005 and 2017 while simultaneously considering evidence development.

METHODS: Based on a qualitatively derived typology and a quantitative clustering of the adoption curves, a representative sample of 21 technologies was selected for further evaluation. Published scientific evidence on efficacy/effectiveness and safety of the technologies was identified and extracted in a systematic approach. Derived from a two-dimensional classification according to the degree of utilization and availability of supportive evidence, the diffusion patterns were then assigned to the categories “Success” (widespread/positive), “Hazard” (widespread/negative), “Overadoption” (widespread/limited or none), “Underadoption” (cautious/positive), “Vigilance” (cautious/negative), and “Prudence” (cautious/limited or none).

RESULTS: Overall, we found limited evidence on the examined technologies regarding both the quantity and quality of published randomized controlled trials. Thus, the categories “Prudence” and “Overadoption” together account for nearly three-quarters of the years evaluated, followed by “Success” with 17%. Even when evidence is available, the transfer of knowledge into practice appears to be inhibited.

CONCLUSIONS: The successful implementation of safe and effective innovative medical technologies into practice requires substantial further efforts by policymakers to strengthen systematic knowledge generation and translation. Creating an environment that encourages the conduct of rigorous studies, promotes knowledge translation, and rewards innovative medical technologies according to their added value is a prerequisite for the diffusion of valuable health care.

PubMed Abstract

Dreger, M., Eckhardt, H., Felgner, S., Errmann, H., Lantzsch, H., Rombey, T., . . . Panteli, D. (2021). Implementation of innovative medical technologies in German inpatient care: patterns of utilization and evidence development. Implement Sci, 16(1), 94. doi:10.1186/s13012-021-01159-3