Can hospitals resist the urge to buy a surgical robot?

Apparently, the answer is no.

The da Vinci surgical robot is an expensive piece of technology, designed for urological and select gynecological procedures. It’s admittedly pretty cool, but the efficacy data is modest at best.

Paul Levy’s hospital, a major Boston academic medical center, has finally bought one, not primarily to benefit patients necessarily, but for competitive reasons:

Virtually all the academic medical centers and many community hospitals in the Boston area have bought one. Patients who are otherwise loyal to our hospital and our doctors are transferring their surgical treatments to other places. Prospective residents who are trying to decide where to have their surgical training look upon our lack of the robot as a deficit in our education program. Prospective physician recruits feel likewise. And, these factors are now spreading beyond urology into the field of gynecological surgery. So as a matter of good business planning, concern for the quality of our training program, and to continue to attract and retain the best possible doctors, the decision was made for us.

A perfect example illustrating the arms race in Boston’s highly cutthroat medical market.

topics: hospitals, levy