Friday, November 16, 2007

The da Vinci Robotic Surgical System Can Improve The Quality of Bariatric Surgery

Often times in the healthcare industry, the use of new technology increases the costs of healthcare without improving the quality. For example, an October, 2007 Consumer Reports study showed that new technology that uses CT scans to perform full body screens, at an average cost of $1000.00, does not offer the patient any proven benefit. And the CT scans may be detrimental because of the associated radiation.

In another example from the study, even after using a $450.00 CT scan to perform angiography to locate narrowing or blockage in coronary arteries, standard angiography, where a catheter is inserted into an artery, is sometimes needed to confirm blockage.

So using new -- and in many cases -- expensive medical technology may not necessarily add to the quality of the healthcare. However, we believe that the da Vinci Robotic System, which is designed to enhance a surgeon’s accuracy during minimally invasive surgery, can add quality to bariatric surgery -- especially gastric bypass surgery.

The da Vinci gastric bypass surgery offers the potential benefits of lowering hospital stays, reducing complications and improving outcomes. These three items are important indicators of quality.

We believe that the da Vinci Robotic System gives a bariatric center a competitive advantage. Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, in Seattle, recently added the da Vinci System to its surgical technologies. We believe that this was a smart strategic move. In addition to using the advanced technology, the center is making sure that the public is made aware of the center's use of the technology. It is doing so through its web site and in at least one press release.

These are prudent marketing moves. We believe that for any bariatric center that wants to improve or maintain the quality of its bariatric surgery, the da Vinci Robotic System should be part of the center’s surgical technologies, since the system has the potential to be a quality enhancer. And those involved in a bariatric or weight loss surgical center's strategic management should understand the da Vinci Robotic System's strategic benefits.



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