Health News Review
  • Nov 19 2012

    New York Times “Novelties” story ramps up robotic hype

    A journalist wrote me: “Ack! Another rah rah rah robotic surgery article, this time in the Times.” The blogging surgeon known as the Skeptical Scalpel tweeted: Skeptical Scalpel ‏@Skepticscalpel ICYMI. Robotic surgery puff piece in the NY Times. What draws their ire? A New York Times piece, “When Robotic Surgery Leaves Just a Scratch.” [...]

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  • Oct 3 2012

    How robotic surgery is promoted on the other side of the globe

    Somehow someone added me to the mailing list for news releases from a hospital in Mumbai.  How/why this happens, one can only guess. But if they’re going to send ‘em, I may write about ‘em – even though maybe not with the slant the PR folks wanted. The latest news release from them sheds light [...]

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  • Aug 24 2012

    Robotic thyroid surgery doubles the expense

    To a man with a new hammer, everything looks like a nail. To a hospital and/or surgical team with a new robotic surgery system, everything looks like a prime candidate for the robot. And then there’s this about “off-label” use of the robot for thyroid surgery: Reuters Health reports: “Surgery to remove part of the [...]

  • May 30 2012

    DaVinci robot: “a pseudo-innovation — increases costs without improving patients’ health”

    On the New York Times’ online opinion page, Dr. Zeke Emanuel wrote, “In Medicine, Falling for Fake Innovation.”  Excerpt: “The sleek, four-armed “da Vinci” robot has been called a breakthrough technology for procedures like prostate surgery. “Imagine,” the manufacturer says, “having the benefits of a definitive treatment but with the potential for significantly less pain, [...]

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  • Apr 17 2012

    Fox News’ robotic surgeon medical news contributor

    Fox News uses Dr. David Samadi, a New York urologist and “Chief of Robotics” at his NY hospital, as a “medical contributor.”  We’ve seen and heard him promote his pet approaches in the past.  He did it again this past Sunday, touting his own favorite approach over another approach known as the Cyberknife, along with [...]

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  • Apr 12 2012

    Direct-to-consumer website promotion of robotic prostatectomy

    A paper in Health Affairs – “Direct-To-Consumer Internet Promotion Of Robotic Prostatectomy Exhibits Varying Quality Of Information” (subscription required) – adds to mounting questions about the marketing and promotion of this technology. A team of researchers analyzed claims made in online promotions of robotic surgery for prostate cancer. Excerpts of the paper: “We found that [...]

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  • Apr 11 2012

    Canada has 1 surgical robot for every 97 in the U.S.

    The surgeon who blogs as the Skeptical Scalpel – and who is a frequent critic of the proliferation of robotic surgical systems – is at it again, this time posting “Robots attack America, but Canada not so much.”   (Addendum on April 12:  Don’t miss our later post on direct-to-consumer website promotion of robotic prostatectomy.) [...]

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  • Mar 26 2012

    Another study analyzes hospitals’ unsubstantiated marketing claims for robotic surgery

    MedPage Today reports: Among hospitals that marketed robotic gynecologic surgery on their websites, as many as 90% touted benefits that have minimal evidence-based support. Claims related to reduced pain, shorter recovery, and decreased blood loss were cited by 76% or more of hospitals that promoted robotic capabilities. Few hospital websites cited evidence-based data to back [...]

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  • Mar 22 2012

    Major-market TV news glorification of “scarless” robotic surgery

    An example of how major-market television news delivers gee-whiz, awestruck segments on robotic surgery. This is from the NBC station in Los Angeles. The formula is familiar: surgeon comes on the set still wearing scrubs he says he just did 3 robotic procedures that day one of them was “first single-site, single-incision gallbladder removal done [...]

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  • Mar 16 2012

    Latest example in how hospitals promote robotic surgery: “tasteless” says one journalist

    This week we’ve already written about marketing of “preventive MRI scans” and of a free nose job promotion. I often write about these medical marketing messages because I think the public should see some of the promotions that go on behind the scenes to try to convince journalists to write about treatments, tests, products and [...]

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