This year, we introduced the first Global Robotic Challenge, challenging robotic users across the world to participate in a fun competition with their peers. Participants were timed while loading the CorPath GRX Single-use Cassette – from wire to balloon – in a practice setting. With over 50 contestants, we’re proud to announce Dale Southard from WellSpan York Hospital as the winner of the first Global Robotic Challenge. Dale completed the challenge in 44 seconds! The team at York has been incredibly successful with vascular robotics, upgrading their system in 2017 and completing over 200 robotic procedures! We caught up with Dale to hear his thoughts on learning robotic technology and how he sharpened his skills to win the challenge.
How many robotic cases have you completed?
DS: I have been bedside during 20-30 robotic cases. During this time, I’ve been much more involved in the procedures allowing me to add to my skill set as a tech. It has been exciting to learn robotic technology and I think the independence that comes with robotic procedures led to my success in the Global Robotic Challenge.
Any tips or tricks for staff just launching a new robotic program?
DS: That is very hard to explain in just a few sentences and without hands on. But there are a few that we have come up with to help. To grow our robotic program within our hospital, we often spread out cases between techs so we can all work on our robotic skills and ensure we are completely comfortable with the technology and performing device exchanges. Learning robotics allows techs, fellows, and bedside staff to be more independent at the table and learn new skills.
You came in first place out of over 50 participants. How did you practice your skills in between robotic cases?
DS: At the launch of our robotic program, Corindus staff trained all physicians and techs who would be using the robotic system. This involved learning more about the system through presentations and hands-on learning. Corindus provided a cassette and training board for the team to practice loading devices and learning the cassette. From time to time, when not in the lab assisting in cases, I would use these tools for practice to help me feel comfortable and perform tasks as quickly as possible during cases.
Your colleagues, Sam Lentz and Jamie Rosier, were among the top 5 winners of the Global Robotic Challenge. In what ways does your team work together during robotic procedures?
As I previously mentioned, we try to spread out the cases so that everybody who wants to will get the opportunity to scrub. Sharing these cases allows the whole team to practice their robotic skills so that we are all trained and ready to go for any robotic cases that come up. Our strong relationships in the lab, both with fellow techs and physicians, have been critical to our success.
What’s your favorite part of using robotics?
My favorite part of robotic cases is having more responsibility as a scrub tech. I am now much more involved at the table, taking ownership of multiple steps of the procedure. Learning this new technology and growing my own skills in the lab have been my favorite parts of using the robot.
Congratulations to Dale for his commitment to robotics and his success in the first Global Robotic Challenge. Stay tuned for announcements on our next challenge!
Are you a technologist interested in robotic technology? Contact us here or click to download our free eBook, Guide to Building a Successful Robotic Program.