Friday, December 06, 2013

Dear health care reporters: Look this way

I bet Robert Langreth (and his colleague Shannon Pettypiece) over at Bloomberg News never thought they would become experts in robotic surgery, but the travails of Intituitive Surgical. Inc. keep providing fodder for these business reporters.  How ironic.  What a sad statement about the lack of depth and coverage by many health care reporters that this business media outlet becomes dominant on this topic.

The latest? Here's their article about an “urgent medical device recall” from the company in which they relate  that friction in the arms of some devices may cause the units to stall. Why does this matter?According to the FDA, "The stalling may result in a sudden 'catch-up' if the surgeon pushes through the resistance."

Why my comment about the slow pace of healthcare reporters?  Well, the Bloomburg report notes that the recall affects 1,386 of the systems worldwide.  You'd think that some health care reporter in one of those thousand-plus jurisdictions would write a story in his local newspaper about this issue--especially since hospitals have garnered gobs of publicity (and market share) in their localities when they installed the devices.  For a start, how about questioning health systems that are offering the robot for OB/GYN surgery, notwithstanding advice from the ACOG president to the contrary.  (Reportorial hint: Do a Google search on "robotic surgery for OB/GYN" and see who shows up in your city or town.)


Nancy Thomas said...

Very highly touted in RI for OB/GYN procedures and, will the thousands of ad dollars influence news coverage in a starving media environment?

Anonymous said...

I tried what you said and what irritated me was the outright advertisement for it on various hospitals' websites. The pretense of being informational is highly misleading if not fraudulent. I think the relevant regulator should require them to label these as advertisements, like they do in print publications such as magazines and newspapers.

nonlocal MD