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Why Aren't Surgeons Embracing Innovative Medical Technology?

Why Aren't Surgeons Embracing Innovative Medical Technology?

We’ve written about some the latest and most innovative medical technology that's making the lives of physicians easier.

For instance, we told you recently about a tiny robotic wrist developed by researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. that can be used to perform movements that need the utmost dexterity in needlescopic surgery procedures.

New surgical robots like these as well as computer-assisted surgical navigation software are just two of the latest technologies available to make the lives of physicians—surgeons in particular—a little easier.

But some surgeons—in this case, those in the orthopedic field, haven’t been so easily convinced to use them, according to an article by Jamie Hartford in our sister publication, MD+DI. Hartford cited the case of Stryker and its MAKO surgical robotic system, which the company has struggled to sell.

One of the main reasons surgeons aren’t embracing some of these new technologies with open arms is their cost, said Neil Sheth, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania., in the article.

“If the robot costs $1 million, and most guys are doing 20 [surgeries] a year, their hospital isn’t going to buy it for them,” Sheth said. “ And the guys who are doing 600 [surgeries] a year don’t need the robot because this is all they do every day.”

Sheth also said that orthopedic surgeons fear that by using these tools to do their work, some so-called “bad” surgeons will be able to pass as competent ones, which lowers the level of quality of the work that’s being done.

One way to make orthopedic surgeons be more friendly toward technologies that can actually help them do their jobs better is to begin introducing them to medical students before they are even surgeons themselves, he suggested in the article.

“That way, you’re training the next generation of people coming out of medical school, and they may have that in their contracts that if you want me to do knee replacements at your hospital, I need this system,” he said.

 “How To Get Doctors To Embrace Next-Gen Technology.” | MD+DI

Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.

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