A ‘black box’-style recording device developed by robotic surgical platform industry leader Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG) may be able to objectively measure surgeon’s proficiency during robotically-assisted surgeries, according to a new report.
The dVLogger, developed by Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, is designed to capture both anonymized video and movement data from the da Vinci robotic surgical platform after being attached to the system, according to the report.
The box, and evaluation of the recordings it makes, could create a sustainable, objective method for analyzing surgeon proficiency and to standardize credentials to improve patient safety, Dr. Andrew Hung of the Keck School of Medicine at USC said.
Hung is lead author on a study looking to do just that, exploring quantitative results that the system can provide during prostatectomy procedures.
“Robotic surgery has been widely adopted by urologic surgeons, but methods of assessing proficiency vary widely between institutions. In order to be credentialed by institutions to use the robotic system, surgeons must be evaluated by their peers for a handful of procedures, but the evaluations are not ongoing, and sometimes evaluators don’t agree on what constitutes proficiency,” Dr. Hung said in a prepared statement. “The dVLogger records the surgeon’s movements, capturing where the instruments are and how the surgeon is moving the instruments.”
In the study, researchers aimed to measure proficiency by analyzing four basic prostate surgery steps with the box. Data came from 100 procedures performed, including those from both novice and experts in the field.
Results from the study indicated that novice and expert surgeons could be identified through a number of measurements, including the time it took to complete operative steps, distance of instruments and camera travel and the frequency of camera movements.
“We now have an opportunity to put surgeon proficiency under the microscope and see what role it plays in patient outcomes,” Hung said.
In future studies, Hung said he will aim to explore how recorded performance data compares to clinical outcomes.
Data from the current study is slated to be published in the January 2018 edition of The Journal of Urology.