How Doctors Hospital at Renaissance maximized the Intuitive 360 experience

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A little over four years ago, when Ricardo Martinez, MD, Chief of Surgery at Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg, Texas, began working with Intuitive on robotic surgery, he told his Intuitive sales representative, "I can't see myself doing more than two [robotic surgery] cases a day."

But to Dr. Martinez's surprise, there are now days when he does seven cases.

Becker's Hospital Review recently spoke with Dr. Martinez and Gaudencio Olgin, MD, chair and director of the robotics program at DHR, about their experience working with Intuitive and the benefits of Intuitive 360, even during the pandemic.

Different team members need different resources

Part of the way institutions grow their robotic surgery programs is by being exposed to more mature programs, learning about best practices and adopting these practices to an institution's own circumstances.

Dr. Olgin sees the exposure to more mature programs as a key part of the value of Intuitive 360. "You get to see where different programs are in their evolution," he said, adding that speakers "talk about pitfalls and you see it's OK to start small . . . and push the envelope to become a more mature program."

An important aspect of Intuitive 360 is different tracks targeted to different team members. Dr. Olgin explained that the track for those in the C-suite provides exposure to what robotic surgery is, how it works and what the benefits are, such as decreasing surgical site infections, complication rates and readmission rates. "That's a big takeaway for them," Dr. Olgin said.

For surgeon champions, the big takeaway, Dr. Olgin said, is about "doing more types of surgery with the platform, having more specialties join in and growing the program to a multidisciplinary program. This involves getting each surgeon more comfortable with branching out within their specialties."

For Dr. Martinez, his particular interest is learning how to keep costs down so DHR can expand robotics procedures to more patients. He is constantly trying to learn new techniques and "find ways to streamline the case to have a smoother, more efficient, more cost-effective case and maintain quality."

DHR adapted during the pandemic and involved multiple team members in Intuitive 360

Each month, DHR's robotics team meets to discuss priorities for improving and growing the robotics program. In advance of last year's conference, which was held virtually in October 2020, DHR's team discussed how best to benefit from Intuitive 360.

The team, in conjunction with their Intuitive representative, came up with a creative idea: they would use DHR's on-site conference center to create their own Intuitive 360 event. DHR hosted different tracks from Intuitive 360 in different rooms of the conference center. This meant one room for the C-suite, another room for surgeons and another room for staff. Some rooms had operational or financial sessions, while other rooms had clinically focused sessions. In addition, DHR invited local physicians to stop in for various sessions to learn more about robotic surgery (in general) and about DHR's robotic surgery program (in particular). Overall, DHR was able to have more than 20 team members and local physicians participate, a large increase from previous years.

DHR surgeons strongly encourage others to attend Intuitive 360

When asked if they would recommend their peers attend Intuitive 360, both Dr. Martinez and Dr. Olgin were emphatic in stating, "I definitely recommend it."

"You're going to learn something every time," Dr. Olgin said. "You get to see the evolution of other programs, and every time you go, you're in a new position. Instead of three surgeons, now you have five or you have fifteen. So, you get to learn something every time." He advised, "I would definitely recommend it and I would say to go with an open mind and be ready to change. Even though you think you are doing something really well and you've got things where you want, you're going to see something that you want to bring back and implement."

"It's very eye-opening to see what people are doing throughout the country and in other parts of the world," Dr. Martinez added. Part of the benefit of Intuitive 360 is "to expand our minds, pick up whatever we can and bring it home to take better care of our patients. I definitely encourage people to attend."

For first-time attendees, Dr. Martinez suggested, "Pick two or three operations that you would like to learn to do better and pick up as much as possible from the experts. They will save you hours of time."

Ultimately, the exposure that Intuitive 360 provides will help robotic surgery leaders and teams learn how to streamline and grow their robotics programs. This will provide clinical benefits to patients and financial benefits to hospitals and health systems.

To learn more about Intuitive 360, please visit our Robotics Content Hub.

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