FRIDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- The acquisition of surgical robots is associated with increases in the performance of radical prostatectomies (RPs) at both the hospital and regional levels, according to research published in the April issue of Medical Care.
Danil V. Makarov, M.D., M.H.S., of the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues examined data on men undergoing RP before 2001 and after 2005, following the dissemination of the surgical robot, to determine what effect the acquisition of surgical robots has on the volume of RPs. They identified 554 hospitals in 71 hospital referral regions in seven states.
The researchers found that more than half (51 percent) of hospital referral regions (HRRs) had at least one hospital with a surgical robot by 2005, with 12 percent of hospitals acquiring at least one robot. HRRs with more hospitals having robots had greater increases in RPs than those that acquired none. The mean increase in RPs in hospitals with a robot was 29.1 per year, while those without a robot had a mean decrease of 4.8 per year.
"Surgical robot acquisition is associated with increased numbers of RPs at the regional and hospital levels. Policy makers must recognize the intimate association between technology diffusion and procedure utilization when approving costly new medical devices with unproven benefit," the authors write.