Surgery Robots Mean More Education And Training For Both Nurses And Doctors

More and more hospitals in the developed world are employing robots in surgery, including Japan, for example. Iseikai Hospital in Osaka and Nagoya Kyouritsu Hospital in Nagoya are just two Japanese hospitals that use these labor-saving surgical automation systems.

However, despite their success in the surgery room, these robots also had unintended consequences like creating issues in the way the insurance companies are billed for “services rendered.” Billing for operations performed by robots are already a topic of controversy in Japan since they are not categorized as “regular surgical operations.”

In British Columbia, Canada, a “Da Vinci” brand robotic system will start operating this Fall (2007) to help doctors during surgeries that require accessing tight areas like the pelvis or the chest. Vancouver General Hospital is planning to use Da Vinci in urological (e.g., Radical Prostatectomy), cardiac (e.g., Mitral Valve Repair) and gynecological (e.g., Hysterectomy) surgeries.

Canadian news reports claim that “robot-assisted surgery offers patients fewer surgical complications, less post-operative pain, faster recovery times, shorter hospital stays and improved health outcomes.” Purchasing Da Vinci, installing it, training the personnel and maintaining it for three years will cost the hospital somewhere around $6.5 million.

Here in the United States, did you know that robots are performing cancer surgeries in Charlotte, North Carolina? CyberKnife, a $3.7 million knifeless robot, is operating on cancer patients with precision radiation at the NorthEast Medical Center. CyberKnife is also used in Mission Health and Hospitals in Asheville and UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

Other “radiosurgery” machines used in surgery include the Gamma Knife in Winston-Salem and Greenville and the XKnife and a Varian device in Durham.

This irreversible trend of course requires both surgeons and nurses require new technical skills to allow them work with such computerized and programmable wonders. Our healthy future will demand even a higher level of training and technical competence from our nurses and healthcare providers.