Healthcare providers around the world have set out on a mission to achieve one thing: predictability. In the aftermath of a pandemic that has been anything but predictable, every stakeholder in the healthcare continuum has a vested interest in making it easier to predict positive patient outcomes.
Many health systems that reflected on their operations and looked for ways to make patient care more effective and efficient this year turned to technology. A record amount of investment went to telehealth and artificial intelligence in the first quarter of 2021 and interest in medical robotics is growing at an accelerated rate. This has created a bull market for a range of medical device technologies. The increased interest and investment are driven in part by short-term benefits, but also by excitement around the long-term expectation of where the technology can go.
With our own platform, the CorPath® GRX System, the short-term benefits come from enhancing physician capability. They can position stents and navigate the vasculature during cardiovascular procedures with a level of precision that the human hand simply cannot match1. It also helps to make their work safer and may elongate their careers by significantly reducing exposure to dangerous radiation2 and the amount of time spent wearing heavy lead.
The market’s growing interest in AI is an encouraging sign for adopting automation in procedures such as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). We have already seen our automated movements in the technIQ Series reduce wiring time and operator variability3. As automation and computer learning (AI) become more ingrained in medicine, they will contribute to more predictable outcomes that make medical intervention safer and more accessible for patients.
Telehealth’s rise in popularity during the pandemic has driven an increased interest in several of the potential long-term benefits of robotic technology as well, including remote procedures or tele-treatment. It’s clear that telehealth has established itself as a valuable tool in increasing access to care and robotics could play a role in evolving telehealth from a predominantly diagnostic tool to a modality for treating patients remotely.
When Dr. Ryan Madder used CorPath GRX to complete multi-city, transcontinental PCI simulations, it offered an extremely powerful and exciting view into the future of remote robotics. But there are other applications for remote technology that could provide significant benefits to patients and health systems sooner than the next cross-continent procedure.
When we think of remote technology4, we see tremendous potential for it to increase efficiency and improve access to care within a singular health system. At the University of Washington Medical Center, for example, the Seattle campus is divided into two sections several miles apart. With a remote connection, an interventional cardiologist in one building could manage multiple patient cases across the campus. We refer to this as a robotic mesh network model where you can connect an interventionalist, independent of their location, to any patient. This can increase the efficiency of the individual physician and grant patients access to the optimal treatment regardless of where they present within a health system.
As healthcare providers race to restore and improve predictable patient outcomes, it’s encouraging to see an industry-wide commitment to new technology that has created an unprecedented level of interest in robotics and forward-facing capability, such as automation and remote procedures. Now, it’s up to the innovators to deliver technologies that make a tangible impact on patient care and increase access to the best possible treatments.
- Bezerra, et al. Longitudinal Geographic Miss (LGM) in Robotic Assisted Versus Manual Percutaneous Coronary Interventions. Journal of Interventional Cardiology, 28: 449-455. doi:10.1111/joic.12231. This study was performed at a single center and there can be no guarantee that other customers will achieve the same results.
- Weisz G, et al. Safety and Feasibility of Robotic Percutaneous Coronary Intervention - The Multi-Center Percutaneous Robotically-Enhanced Coronary Intervention Study (PRECISE). Journal of the American College of Cardiology.2013 Apr 16;61(15): 1596-600. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2012.12.045.
- Madder R, et al. “TCT-539. Impact of a novel advanced robotic wiring algorithm on time to wire a coronary artery bifurcation in a porcine model.” JACC, vol. 70, no. 18, article B223, 2017. Preclinical study data may not be predictive of clinical results
- Remote capabilities are currently under development; it is not for sale. Its future availability cannot be guaranteed.