Premature adoption and resolution of medical technology: illustrations from childbirth technology

J Soc Issues. Summer 1993;49(2):11-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-4560.1993.tb00918.x.


The first part of this article discusses four forces underlying the emergence, adoption, and routinization of medical technology: key societal values, policies of the federal government, reimbursement policies, and economic incentives. It also addresses a set of impacts resulting from increased reliance on medical technology. The second part of the paper assesses three examples of childbirth technology: electronic fetal monitor, obstetric ultrasound, and cesarean birth. The tendency toward premature and excessive use of technology is especially strong in the area of childbirth and technology.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Biomedical Technology* / economics
  • Biomedical Technology* / statistics & numerical data
  • Biomedical Technology* / trends
  • Cesarean Section / economics
  • Cesarean Section / statistics & numerical data
  • Cesarean Section / trends*
  • Federal Government
  • Female
  • Fetal Monitoring / statistics & numerical data
  • Fetal Monitoring / trends*
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Health Services Misuse
  • Humans
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Reimbursement Mechanisms
  • Research Support as Topic
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / statistics & numerical data
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal / trends*
  • United States