Blog Post

2 ways to optimize your robotics program

October 2, 2018

    Cost is an important factor for planners to consider when investing in surgical robots. Costs are incurred across all stages of acquisition and implementation, and thus, planners need to account for investment costs related to instrumentation, physician learning curves, set-up, and scheduling.

    For a deeper dive, access our surgical services clinical technology compendium

    Our research has indicated that deliberate selection of procedures performed on the robot and surgeons credentialed on the robot are critical to a financially successful program.

    Two key considerations to keep in mind when selecting physicians to use the robot and procedures to perform on the robot are to 1) use data to assess skill and to 2) ensure clear ownership of the program.

    1. Use data for surgeon credentialing and skill improvement

    One way to incorporate data in surgeon credentialing is to use C-SATS. C-SATS (Crowd-Sourced Assessment of Technical Skills) is an analytics-based learning technology platform that helps hospitals to answer the difficult question: How do we qualify which surgeons should use robots?

    • C-SATS can help surgeons improve their technical skills and clinical outcomes across a range of specialties via inter-operative video review.

    • Physicians record their performance and upload it to the HIPAA-compliant and secure C-SATS site where it undergoes anonymous expert review.

    • Reviewers provide qualitative feedback and give specific recommendations for performance improvement.

    A principled approach to credentialing ensures the resource is used appropriately by physicians who are poised to reap maximum benefit from the technology.

    2. Create program oversight committee

    To establish ownership of the robotics program, create an oversight committee with clear responsibilities.

    • Designate a cost containment owner within the committee to keep things like procedure set-up and OR scheduling top of mind.

    • Outline which procedures should be performed using the robot, to mitigate excessive or inappropriate usage.

    • Consolidate procedure volume across a few surgeons to fight diluted volumes across many surgeons, and to decrease the timeline to robot proficiency.

    Helping surgeons improve technical skills, consider financial responsibility, and embrace the organization's objectives further fosters an environment of accountability for everyone participating in the robotics program.

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