Many months ago,
I wrote about the da Vinci Robot Surgical System and expressed doubts
about whether there was evidence to support the clinical efficacy of
this equipment, as opposed to the marketing efficacy of the company
selling it. Well, the time has come to graciously say, “Uncle!”
making any representations about the relative clinical value of this
robotic system versus manual laparoscopic surgery, I am writing to let
you know we have decided to buy one for our hospital.
Why? Well, in
simple terms, because 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.
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
So there you have it. This is an illustrative story of the health care system in which we operate
Paul Levy is the President and CEO of Beth Israel Deconess Medical
Center in Boston. He blogs about his
experiences at, Running a Hospital, one of the few blogs we know of maintained by a senior hospital executive.