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The Costs and Rewards

How do hospitals decided if robotic surgery technology is worth the hefty price?

By Charles Slack // Winter 2007
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Hospitals wondering whether to invest in robotic surgery must often weigh a machine’s significant capital and operating costs against as-yet-unproven patient outcomes and the hard-to-quantify financial benefits of a new technology.

COSTS OF USING THE DA VINCI //



Price: $1.5 million for the latest model; $100,000 in maintenance fees after the first year; $1,500 in disposable tools per operation.



Training: As with any new approach, it takes time for surgeons and assistants to become proficient.



Additional staff: A surgeon’s assistant is required to attach instruments and guide robot arms into place.

POTENTIAL BENEFITS //



Swifter procedures: Operating time decreases as the surgical team becomes more skilled.

Shorter hospital stays: Beds become available more quickly.

Positive publicity: Hospital attracts patients seeking the latest, least invasive techniques.

Recruiting power: Surgeons gravitate toward technologically advanced hospitals.

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The Robot Surgeon

Da Vinci robotic surgery system

A remarkable machine lets doctors operate from across the room and quickly gets patients back on their feet. But will hospitals pay the price?

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