The Speed and Impact of a New Technology Diffusion in Organ Transplantation: A Case Study Approach
A miracle in medical procedure, organ transplantation, has taken place in recent decades due to the diffusion of a new technology. The new technology refers to a family of the so‐called immunosuppressive drugs. As a result, survival rates of major organ transplants have risen to a record‐level of 80 to 90%.
This paper has four objectives. First, the speed of new technology diffusion is measured from the historical penetration ratio for the major immunosuppressive drugs. It took, on average, 6 to 8 years for new drugs to gain the 50% penetration ratio. Second, historical improvement patterns of survival rates for major organ transplants are analyzed by the use of both classical and kinked experience curves. The results indicate that kinked experience equations generated much steeper slopes. Third, the relationship between the increased penetration ratios of new drugs to the improved survival rates of organ transplants is analyzed. Overall, rapid diffusion of new drugs appears to have caused faster improvement of the survival rates. Finally, we forecast the future improvement of survival rates through 2030 by the use of kinked experience equations. Our forecast shows that nearly every type of transplant will reach 90% or higher survival rates by 2020.
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