Parma Community General — one of the few remaining independent hospitals in Northeast Ohio — recently invested millions of dollars in a surgical robot it hopes will attract patients and ultimately boost its bottom line.
The hospital’s purchase of the latest model of the da Vinci surgical robot for an undisclosed amount puts the community hospital in the same league as several other local providers, such as University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, the MetroHealth System and Southwest General, in their quest to provide more minimally invasive procedures, particularly those for prostate removal.
“It allows us to compete with some of the other facilities that have the equipment,” said Pam Falasco, Parma Community’s vice president and chief nursing officer. “They may need to catch up with us.”
Ms. Falasco said that’s an exciting prospect given that Parma Community isn’t part of a larger health system. The acquisition of the robot will allow the organization to do “several hundred procedures” it hadn’t done previously each year.
The hospital admittedly was behind the curve when it came to robotic surgery, but the opportunity to make the investment arose when a nationally known expert in robotic surgery, Dr. Carson Wong, joined SouthWest Urology Inc. in Middleburg Heights, one of the hospital’s partner practices.
Dr. Wong, who most recently served as medical director of the Center for Robotic Surgery at Oklahoma University Medical Center in Oklahoma City, will lead the development of the robotic surgery program at Parma.
“The reality is that (robotic surgery) is a standard of care for prostate cancer in 2011,” Dr. Wong said.
When using the robot, surgeons aren’t required to touch patients’ bodies. Rather, they slide their thumbs and fingers into a console and control the robotic fingers that touch the patients. With the help of the equipment, the surgery is minimally invasive, considerably decreasing blood loss and shortening recovery times.
Right now, the equipment at Parma Community largely is used for prostatectomies, hysterectomies, and bariatric and kidney surgeries. Dr. Wong will lead the charge of developing other uses for the technology, though he said it was too early to say what those might be.
This article was originally posted on October 24, 2011 on CrainsCleveland.com By TIMOTHY MAGAW.