But many doctors perform too few robot-assisted surgeries to get good at it, and that could explain the lasting problems that showed up in the study.....doctors who perform the most surgeries get the best results.
My take? Buying opportunity before earnings.
Good thing I can parse statements like a lawyer. :-)
This is not all good. It points out a very real problem. The good news is that the problem is not with the technology but as far as the average patient is concerned it doesn't matter AT ALL whether the outcomes are less than optimal because of an issue with the technology or because the average (or typical) daVinci surgeon does not have enough procedures under his belt to be good at it yet, or do enough to stay good at it.
The patients and outcomes could still suffer and so could studies aggregating those results. At some point this is unavoidable, the truth is that every surgeon has to start somewhere and as long as the base of surgeons is growing rapidly, and it is, there are going to be a significant number of new surgeons with a relatively low number of procedures under their belt. Some of the impact of this can and is be mitigated with the sharing of best practices, dual consoles, simulations, practice on animals, etc. but it is a real issue.
On the plus side, over the long term this bodes well for the cost and effectiveness benefits of daVinci particularly in specialized high volume settings where a group of surgeons do a very high volume of one particular type of procedure. This strikes me as the kind of environment one would see in a health care system with universal coverage where the daVinci and surgeons can be kept very busy doing the same procedure over and over. High utilization of the system drives the fixed costs down to the point that they are inconsequential (a few hundred dollars) and the highly experienced surgeons achieve superior outcomes in less than average times.