Are medtech companies ready for the robotics digital data revolution?

The ultimate value that robotics data will provide is in improving outcomes through better recording of process, approach, measurements and outcomes data.

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.

In their first iterations, surgical data from robots is very difficult to obtain. Most surgical robots are not yet hooked up to hospital systems to directly interface with them. More importantly, they cannot easily connect to the manufacturer and require a USB to download data. That means a person from either the hospital or the manufacturer needs to pull the data manually to use it—not an ideal way to capture data. And there is little to no connection to the ultimate patient outcomes, meaning the data is not easily usable to drive improvements in care.

To get to this dream future state, medtech companies have to overcome several obstacles:

  • Connectivity: Most medtech organizations plan to connect their robots to hospital sysytems, but since many of the first-gen robots don’t have that level of connectivity, that’s still a few years away. As mentioned, data can be pulled through thumb drives, but it’s a very manual effort.
  • Data management: Most medtech companies currently manage existing, one-dimensional customer, sales and market data. The data from robotics, on the other hand, is going to be very complex, which is why it’s so valuable. Because the data will have multiple dimensions, it not only needs to pull from the robot, but also be linked to patient progress and outcomes.

By Andy Kach | MedCity News

Image Credit: metamorworks, Getty Images

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About Peter Coffaro 711 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the orthopedic industry. Recognized by MedReps.com as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager and Distributor. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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