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Hospitals boost robotic surgery but training lags

surgery simulation

Jeff Berkley, Mimic’s CEO, chairman and founder, said his company has sold 450 simulators, including an unspecified number bundled with the da Vinci robots made and marketed by Intuitive.

Mimic Technologies was featured in the April 27, 2012  San Francisco Business Times article by Chris Rauber titled “Hospitals boost robotic surgery but training lags”.

According to the article, “Robotic surgery is already being used for hundreds of thousands of surgeries a year, but concerns are rising about a lack of standards for training that largely leaves individual surgeons or medical staffs to decide when they are ready. All too often, many experts say, they decide to do so too soon.”

The article went on to list Bay Area hospitals and surgery centers that are using the da Vinci robots and mentioned Mimic’s simulator as a solution to help with surgical training.

According to the article:

“One solution, Nezhat and others say, are computer simulators, including one made by Seattle’s Mimic Technologies Inc., that mimic the robot and let surgical trainees and experienced surgeons alike master the techniques offline, without putting patients in danger.

Intuitive includes the simulator on some of its units — although it won’t say how many — and supports its use, along with proctored training by experienced robotic surgeons and “master classes” for surgeons who feel they need more training from their peers.”

The article covered “Simulation as a solution” in further depth:

“The solution, Nezhat and supporters suggest, is to drastically improve training for new surgeons or experienced surgeons looking to add robotic surgery to their skill set.

John Chan, M.D., director of gynecologic oncology at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, calls the robots “a huge advance in the way we approach especially delicate surgery and fine suturing,” but agrees that additional training is essential.

“I agree with Dr. Nezhat that simulation is going to be at least a partial solution,” Chan said. “It allows practicing physicians in the community to improve their skills, and hospital administrators and board specialties, like the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, to assess skills, similar to an airplane pilot who trains on a flight simulator.”

Jeff Berkley, Mimic’s CEO, chairman and founder, said his company has sold 450 simulators, including an unspecified number bundled with the da Vinci robots made and marketed by Intuitive. Stanford has one, the one that Nezhat and crew are using to compare Mimic’s approach to others, including a new Italian competitor to the da Vinci, while focusing on Nezhat’s specialty of gynecologic surgery.”

Click here to read the full San Francisco Business Times article (PDF)