Why Emanate Health built a robotics program

Emanate Health, a nonprofit health system that serves 1 million residents in the San Gabriel Valley of California, has embraced robotic surgical technology to improve patient care. The health system also uses its robotic center as a recruitment tool.

 Here, Emanate Health CEO Rob Curry and Medical Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery Edward Tangchitnob, MD, discusses the program and where he sees the biggest benefit in the future.

Question: Why did you choose to invest in robotics for physicians? What benefits are you seeing?

Rob Curry: Since first investing in robotic surgery 10 years ago, our robotics specialty service has experienced tremendous success. It has given our physicians the state-of-the art tools they need to dramatically improve patient care and the positive patient outcomes have increased the demand for robotic surgery for minimally invasive care. To meet this growing need, we made a strategic decision to invest in robotics as a means to expand our services, continue to attract top-performing doctors in robotic surgery and to offer the best and latest training to improve overall patient care. Taking these steps has led to Emanate Health designated as an internationally acclaimed Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery by the Surgical Review Corporation – making us the first hospital in Los Angeles County to achieve this designation.

Q: What is the return on this investment? How does this fit into the health system's overall strategy?

RC: The return on the investment is clear – Emanate Health has become a recognized leader of robotic surgery and training in our region and is only one of five in the state of California designated as a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery. From a patient perspective, it has allowed Emanate Health to provide more services to the people in our region and improve overall quality of care, which supports our mission of keeping our community well in body, mind and spirit.

From a physician standpoint, our robotic program has given surgeons the opportunity to lead training opportunities for our growing staff and we have found that this has become one of our strongest retention tools. In fact, we have had 14 physicians join the Emanate Health team because of robotics and we have seen a growth in revenue in this specialty area as a direct result.

Q: Where do you see the best opportunity to grow the health system in the future?

RC: Emanate Health believes that the best opportunity to grow the health system is by being able to provide comprehensive, complex care, and integrated care under one umbrella, one system, for all care settings and levels of health. Throughout our 19 medical facilities in the region, we currently offer specialty care in cardiology, emergency, orthopedics, women’s health, sports medicine, cancer and behavioral health. Growing these specialty care services is a direct result of recognizing that patients want the option to access specific services in their communities outside of the hospital walls; this is also where the industry as a whole is moving directionally.

Q: On a clinical level, what difference do the robotic programs make? Why are they attractive to physicians?

Dr. Edward Tangchitnob: Robotic programs and tools like the da Vinci Surgical System have profound clinical impacts. Most importantly, we are observing improvements in our ability to get our patients safely through surgery and on the road to an optimal recovery outcome.

Overall patient satisfaction has increased [since implementing the program] and as a physician, that is the most rewarding difference we can make. Physicians are not only attracted to robotics programs because we can provide our patients better care, but reporting protocols and data collection processes in place through our SRC-designated Center of Excellence for Robotic Surgery allow us to track patient results at any given time, making it a great asset for our physicians. Furthermore, Emanate Health has established the interdisciplinary robotics surgery committee meeting to continuously evaluate results and improve outcomes.

Q: How does the health system use its robotics program for recruitment?

ET: Emanate Health recruits the brightest surgeons from programs nationwide, and the best-of-the-best want to have robotics training as a cornerstone of their skillset.
Emanate Health is only one of five in the state of California designated as a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery.

Q: What opportunities do you see for these types of programs to make an impact on the health system in the future?

ET: Advancing robotics in surgery changes the game in terms of patient outcomes and standards of excellence. However, surgery can still come with risk, whether it is minimally invasive or not. At Emanate Health, we strive to set the standard for the highest evaluation of safety protocols and serve as a model for best management practices for all health systems globally.

More articles about hospital innovation:
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St. Luke's unveils mobile medical simulation center: 3 notes


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