Robotic manufacturers will fight a war to get robots into the operating room, but even if we figure out how to create a one-stop-shop robot for the OR, there’s another conundrum: how do we collect and use the data coming from robots to drive improvements in outcomes and patient care?
The ultimate value that robotics data will provide is in improving outcomes through better recording of process, approach, measurements and outcomes data. Collected through an individual robot in one OR, that data is likely interesting, but not significantly valuable. It’s also not linked to the patient’s ultimate outcomes data. Across hundreds of hospitals, ORs and procedures, however, that data becomes amazingly valuable. Imagine the level of information that shows the differences and similarities in how surgeons operate and links it to the hospital’s data on patient outcomes. Right now, there are likely hundreds of ways that surgeons do a full knee replacement with differing results. Which work best? Nobody really knows because the data is very difficult to obtain, coming from many potential sources. But with the collection of surgical robotic data linked to outcomes information from 90-day patient management programs, we’ll be able to isolate what activities and processes drive the best outcomes. We can help surgeons improve execution and hospitals improve care, which ultimately improves patient outcomes and reduces the total cost to the system. That would be amazing for all parties involved.