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Invited Commentary
July 2014

Assessing the Value of Surgical RoboticsNot Your Grandfather’s Widget

Author Affiliations
  • 1Section of Cardiac Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
JAMA Surg. 2014;149(7):686. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2013.5710

Mihaljevic and colleagues1 have courageously entered the fray in assigning and assessing relative “value” in health care. Unlike applying conventional profit-loss analyses in producing and marketing widgets in business school, health care administrators and physicians must grapple with the conundrum of justifying the quantifiable costs of new technologies with vaguely defined measures of patient benefit, even more ambiguous assessments of benefit to society, and the perpetually moving target of marketing advantage. The need for a cogent method to optimize value in health care is accentuated by the nation’s focus on rising health care costs and unfavorable value comparisons to other nations’ health care systems.

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