You hear it time and time again – surgical procedures need to be conducted in a cost-effective, high-quality, patient-centric manner consistent with the mandates set forth by healthcare reform. Ultimately, the demands on the industry are very transparent: deliver patient care in a timely, less costly method or else. The cynic would even go as far to say that the expectations of all healthcare providers are to be robot-like. If trending continues, it could take on a literal meaning.
The cover story in this month’s OR Today Magazine examines the growth of robotic surgery in operating rooms throughout the country. Only a decade old, 350,000 procedures are now accounted for annually using robotic surgery. And it’s not just a fad as it’s expected that the utilization of robotic surgery will expand into other specialties.
While it’s understandable that the perception of robotic surgery is straight out of a sci-fi movie – images of an actual robot operating on a patient come to mind – it is still undetermined whether robotic surgery procedures are cost-effective and safe.
How it impacts the work of the anesthesia provider is open to interpretation as well, but according to Somnia President and CEO Marc Koch, MD, anesthesia providers have little to worry about if the next logical step in this evolution is robotic anesthesia.
In a recent podcast with Anesthesiology News, Dr. Koch sounded off on the FDA approval of Sedasys, a delivery system that allows gastroenterologists and nurses to administer anesthesia without an anesthesia provider on-site.
When asked whether the introduction of systems like Sedasys would render the anesthesiologist profession moot, Dr. Koch matter-of-factly stated, “No…it’s not the administration of a drug. It’s the care of patients undergoing surgical procedures…and it involves substantially more than just giving a medication. It involves the care of the patient…and I really don’t see political or other threat to anesthesiologists on the basis of that and that alone.”
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