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Robotic Simulators: A Case for the Return on Investment

originally published in The Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology

Roger D Smith, PhD; Khara M. Simpson, MD

Simulation has been integrated into the education and certification process in aviation and military arenas with significant success in providing cost effective training. The transition from the apprenticeship model to simulation has been slower in the field of medicine with cost, lack of curricula and high fidelity exercises and equipment being the main reasons. With recent improvements in all areas, cost remains a significant challenge.

This report describes our novel analysis of the return on investment (ROI) that can be achieved through the inclusion of simulator use within a robotic surgery business practice and as an alternative source of training revenue.  Information was gathered through an extensive literature review and expert interviews for the development of an interactive calculator for institutions to utilize when considering an investment in robotic surgery simulators.

This ROI model presents the core improvements to existing operations which may be realized through the use of simulators of robotic surgery. Category headings include simulator investment costs, surgeon productivity, surgeon health, hospital costs, and other training costs. The user of the model is able to enter their own numbers for their unique facilities. The spreadsheet model will calculate the costs and benefits associated with each area, create category subtotals, and then an overall total for all areas. Using these numbers, it can then calculate an ROI percentage for the simulators. This model represents one tool to assist organizations in making the investment in these devices and training programs.

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