Change of practice patterns in urology with the introduction of the Da Vinci surgical system: the Greek NHS experience in debt crisis era

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Dimitros Deligiannis *
Ioannis Anastasiou
Vasileios Mygdalis
Evangelos Fragkiadis
Konstantinos Stravodimos
(*) Corresponding Author:
Dimitros Deligiannis |


Objective: To determine the attitudinal change for urologic surgery in Greece since the introduction of the da Vinci Surgical System (DVS). We describe contemporary trends at public hospital level, the initial Greek experience, while at the same time Greece is in economic crisis and funding is under austerity measures. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively analyzed annualized case log data on urologic procedures, between 2008 (installation of the DVS) and 2013, from “Laiko’’ Hospital in Athens. We evaluated, using summary statistics, trends and institutional status regarding robot-assisted surgery (RAS). We also analyzed the relationship between the introduction of RAS and change in total volume of procedures performed. Results: 1578 of the urological procedures performed at “Laiko’’ Hospital were pooled, 1342 (85%) being open and 236 RAS (15%). We observed a 6-fold increase in the number of RAS performed, from 7% of the total procedural volume (14/212) in 2008 to 30% (96/331) in 2013. For radical prostatectomy, in 2008 2% were robot-assisted and 98% open while in 2013, 46% and 54% respectively. Pyeloplasty was performed more often using the robot-assisted method since 2010. RAS-dedicated surgeons increased both RAS and the total number of procedures they performed. From 86 in 2008 to 145 in 2013, with 57% of them being RAS in 2013 as compared to 13 % in 2008. Conclusions: Robot-assisted surgery has integrated into the armamentarium for urologic surgery in Greece at public hospital level. Surgical robot acquisition is also associated with increased volume of procedures, especially prostatectomy, despite the ongoing debate over cost-effectiveness, during economic crisis and International Monetary Fund (IFN) era.


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