Advancing Robotic Technology

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) surgeons are using robotics technology more often to reduce length of stay, blood loss, and readmissions as compared to laparoscopic surgery. LVHN is a high volume robotic surgery institution with one of the largest robotic surgery programs statewide.

LVHN’ s three da VINCI® Si HD surgical systems provide greater visualization with 3-D, enhanced dexterity, improve ergonomics, and enhance precision for surgeons over laparoscopy.

At LVHN, Martin Martino MD, Medical Director for LVHN’s Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery Program and colleagues, compared 30 day readmissions for patients who had robotic and non-robotic hysterectomy for benign disease.  They found that readmission rates in the robotic cohort were significantly less than non-robotic cohorts.

LVHN was one of the founding organizations of the “Robotic Training Network” (RTN) which includes 55 institutions. Dr. Martino and surgeons from eight other founding organizations developed a validated test of surgical skill for residents and fellows-in-training. This comprehensive online training and simulation-based training program is referred to as “Robotic Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills” (R-OSATS).

This health network was one of 14 international sites selected to participate in the “Fundamentals of Robotics Surgery” (FRS) validation trial. The FRS trial established with funding from a Defense Department grant, is a proficiency-based training and education program for robotic surgery. LVHN is in the final stage of completing the curriculum for adoption.

The Air Force Research Lab, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is studying how surgical teams can gain trust in new robotic surgery technology. Air Force researchers are working with the “Institute for Defense Robotic Surgical Education” or referred to as “InDoRSE” to expand and improve robotic training capabilities. This new study is focused on how surgical teams can learn to trust surgical robots by observing teams during training.

Dr. Svyatoslav Guznov, a Human Factors Research Psychologist with the Air Force, explains, “Trust is vital in the operating room between the surgeon, their tools, and among all members of the team. Researchers are studying the impact in communications and coordination between the surgical team when robotics are in use.”

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