McBride KE, Steffens D, Solomon MJ, Anderson T, Young J, Leslie S, Thanigasalam R, Bannon PG
Aust Health Rev 2019 Jul;
Within Australia, robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) has largely been undertaken within the private sector, and predominately based within urology. This is rapidly developing, with RAS becoming increasingly prevalent across surgical specialties and within public hospitals. At this point in time there is a need to consider how this generation of the technology can be appropriately and safely introduced into the public health system given its prohibitive costs and lack of high-level long-term evidence.This paper describes a unique approach used to govern the establishment of a new RAS program within a large public tertiary referral hospital in Australia. This included the creation of a comprehensive governance framework that covered research, training and operational components, with research being the ultimate gatekeeper to accessing the technology.Taking this novel approach, both benefits and challenges were encountered. Although initially there was a trade-off of activity to enable time for the research program to be developed, it was found the model strengthened patient safety in introducing the technology, fostered a breadth of surgical speciality involvement, ensured uniformity of data collection and, in the longer term, will enable a significant contribution to be made to the evidence regarding the appropriateness of RAS being used across several surgical specialties.There is potential for this comprehensive governance framework to be transferred to other public hospitals commencing or with existing RAS programs and to be applied to the introduction of other new and expensive surgical technology.RAS is rapidly evolving and becoming increasingly prevalent across surgical specialities in major public hospitals. Consequently, it is important that this new technology is safely and appropriately implemented into the public health system.This article describes the benefits and implementation challenges of a novel RAS approach, including a comprehensive governance framework that covered research, training and operational components, with research being the ultimate gatekeeper to accessing the technology.This comprehensive governance framework can be transferred to other public hospitals introducing, or already using, new and expensive surgical technology.