Give surgical robots a voice in medical device development, says global technology development company

27 April, 2017

The needs of surgical robots and the opportunities they enable must be taken into account when designing new surgical devices, says global product development company, Sagentia. The technology consultancy’s comment comes on the cusp of rapidly increasing use of robots for intricate surgical procedures and recognizes that their introduction changes the dynamics of the operating room.

The consulting company believes that it is only through ‘Voice of Customer’ studies that directly observe and interpret this changing environment, that the impact and opportunity of surgical robotics can be fully understood and used to define the next-generation of surgical devices.

“Teasing out, sometimes unknown, needs through direct contextual research is critical for successful product development” commented John Foy, Medtech Strategy Consultant, at Sagentia. “This is especially true within the acute environment of the operating room. In robotic surgery, there are nuances to the workflow, staffing and training that may impact associated product needs. For a start, the surgeon is now remote from the patient and the robot is patient side. It’s only by seeing the interplay between robot, surgeon, patient and other staff that development needs can really be understood”.

To help medical device organizations anticipate the needs of the rapidly changing technology landscape, Sagentia has launched a free downloadable white paper: Insights from the operating room: how does robotics change the established protocols for developing next-generation surgical instruments?

New levels of accuracy and precision made possible by the use of robotic technologies have impacted the surgical approaches being used and in many cases have led to new surgical methods. Improved stability, dexterity, ease of access to otherwise awkward locations all have the potential to open up new procedural techniques. They also all have consequences for the ancillary surgical tools being used.

It is therefore important that product development processes give due consideration to compatibility with robotic design and function and also capitalize on the new capabilities the robot provides.

Robotic surgery is now commonplace within the modern surgical theater. Targeted and organized product development pathways which take into account the full set of stakeholders and provide contextual evidence from within the operating room will be needed. 

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