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FEATURE


Many ASC staff will likely be unfa- miliar with robotics, Orr says. “For staff who have been at the ASC for a while, this may be their first expo- sure. Supporting a surgeon who uses a robot is completely different than being next to a surgeon when they are standing over a patient and operating.” In a lot of circumstances, staff will be tasked with ejecting instruments from the robot; reloading them, if neces- sary; placing instruments back onto the robot; and then advancing them through a port. “There will probably be a major learning curve,” he says. Lean on your robotics vendor for support, Orr adds. “Robotics compa- nies want their clients to succeed and are usually willing to provide signifi- cant assistance. They will often send representatives to help with initial training. Some vendors will even pro- vide a representative to participate in some cases to ensure everyone is com- fortable with the robot.” Your patient community also might require education. “Outreach efforts can help get the word out to patients about the availability of your robot and the great outcomes they can expect from outpatient surgery,” Abraham says. “We hear from patients who are sur- prised to learn that they will go home the same day as their total joint surgery when they recall a parent needing to stay in the hospital for days and requir- ing weeks of rehab for a similar surgery years back. Reeducation of the pub- lic about what can be done safely and effectively in your ASC is important.” Understand


how reimbursement


works for the procedures you are planning with the robot, Orr says. “You will be billing using the same CPT codes as those when you per- form laparoscopic procedures.”


Expanding the Program If you start a program, take the time necessary to establish its founda- tion and ensure staff are comfort- able supporting your surgeons, Orr


A surgeon and surgical nurse in the operating room at miVIP Surgery Centers with a robotic patient cart that hold surgical instruments and viewing monitor carts that show 3D images of patients’ anatomy for high-precision surgery.


You will need either a single surgeon advocate for robotics or a group of surgeons with a sufficient patient base to make the upfront capital costs and monthly or annual service costs feasible.”


— Jess Lonner, MD, Rothman Orthopaedic Institute


says. “Only then should you con- sider reaching out to other physicians to gauge their interest in using your ASC’s robot. You want to make sure physicians who take you up on an invitation have a positive experience with your staff.” Surgeon dedication is essential to


growing a robotics program, Lonner says. “When physicians have positive experiences and good outcomes using your robot, they will be more inclined to choose your ASC as their preferred site of service for appropriate cases.” Outreach to physicians unfamiliar


with your ASC might require edu- cation on the benefits of perform- ing surgery at your center, Orr says. “Also spend time speaking with them about what your ASC will do to make sure the robot is available to accom- modate their surgical schedule.” Physicians performing smaller cases, such as hernia repair and gall bladder


removal, can struggle to secure time on hospital robots because the tech- nology is often reserved for more complex cases. “The ability to get physicians and their patients into and out of your ASC quickly, efficiently and safely is a huge perk of what you can offer new physicians and their patients,” he adds. Maintain


ongoing marketing


efforts to spread awareness of your robotics program, Abraham says. “We have held several in-person patient seminars and webinars. We had local media visit our ASC to see the robot and learn about what it offers. We are also planning our first Facebook Live event. We want to keep letting patients know that their procedure can be done on an outpatient basis and that our ASC and its new robot is a great option for them.”


PHOTO CREDIT: miVIP SURGERY CENTERS ASC FOCUS JUNE/JULY 2019 | ascfocus.org 15


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