Navigation Links
Hospitals misleading patients about benefits of robotic surgery, study suggests
Date:5/18/2011

An estimated four in 10 hospital websites in the United States publicize the use of robotic surgery, with the lion's share touting its clinical superiority despite a lack of scientific evidence that robotic surgery is any better than conventional operations, a new Johns Hopkins study finds.

The promotional materials, researchers report online in the Journal for Healthcare Quality, overestimate the benefits of surgical robots, largely ignore the risks and are strongly influenced by the product's manufacturer.

"The public regards a hospital's official website as an authoritative source of medical information in the voice of a physician," says Marty Makary, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study's leader. "But in this case, hospitals have outsourced patient education content to the device manufacturer, allowing industry to make claims that are unsubstantiated by the literature. It's dishonest and it's misleading."

In the last four years, Makary says, the use of robotics to perform minimally invasive gynecological, heart and prostate surgeries and other types of common procedures has grown 400 percent. Proponents say robot-assisted operations use smaller incisions, are more precise and result in less pain and shorter hospital stays claims the study's authors challenge as unsubstantiated. More hospitals are buying the expensive new equipment and many use aggressive advertising to lure patients who want to be treated with what they think is the latest and greatest in medical technology, Makary notes.

But Makary says there are no randomized, controlled studies showing patient benefit in robotic surgery. "New doesn't always mean better," he says, adding that robotic surgeries take more time, keep patients under anesthesia longer and are more costly.

None of that is apparent in reading hospital websites that promote its use, he says. For example he points out that 33 percent of hospital websites that make robot claims say that the device yields better cancer outcomes a notion he points out as misleading to a vulnerable cancer population seeking out the best care.

Makary and his colleagues analyzed 400 randomly selected websites from U.S. hospitals of 200 beds or more. Data were gathered on the presence and location of robotic surgery information on a website, the use of images or text provided by the manufacturer, and claims made about the performance of the robot.

Forty-one percent of the hospital websites reviewed described the availability and mechanics of robotic surgery, the study found. Of these, 37 percent presented the information on the homepage and 66 percent mentioned it within one click of the homepage. Manufacturer-provided materials were used on 73 percent of websites, while 33 percent directly linked to a manufacturer website.

When describing robotic surgery, the researchers found that 89 percent made a statement of clinical superiority over more conventional surgeries, the most common being less pain (85 percent), shorter recovery (86 percent), less scarring (80 percent) and less blood loss (78 percent). Thirty-two percent made a statement of improved cancer outcome. None mentioned any risks.

"This is a really scary trend," Makary says. "We're allowing industry to speak on behalf of hospitals and make unsubstantiated claims."

Makary says websites do not make clear how institutions or physicians arrived at their claims of the robot's superiority, or what kinds of comparisons are being made. "Was robotic surgery being compared to the standard of care, which is laparoscopic surgery," Makary asks, "or to 'open' surgery, which is an irrelevant comparison because robots are only used in cases when minimally invasive techniques are called for."

Makary says the use of manufacturer-provided images and text also raises serious conflict- of-interest questions. He says hospitals should police themselves in order not to misinform patients. Johns Hopkins Medicine, for example, forbids the use of industry-provided content on its websites.

"Hospitals need to be more conscientious of their role as trusted medical advisers and ensure that information provided on their websites represents the best available evidence," he says. "Otherwise, it's a violation of the public trust."


'/>"/>

Contact: Stephanie Desmon
sdesmon1@jhmi.edu
410-955-8665
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Thomas Jefferson University and hospitals tasked to find new radiation drugs
2. Black cardiac arrest patients more likely to be admitted to hospitals with lowest survival rates
3. Studies Highlight Challenge of Controlling Resistant Bacteria in Hospitals
4. Referral to high-volume hospitals for operations fails to improve outcomes statewide
5. Hospitals Urged to Check for Depression Before Discharging Heart Patients
6. University Hospitals Case Medical Center testing innovative heat therapy for premature ejaculation
7. Use of Virtual Colonoscopy on the Rise in U.S. Hospitals
8. Experts call for greater pain assessment in hospitals as 65 percent of patients report problems
9. Study finds blacks more likely to be readmitted to hospitals after discharge
10. Elsevier/MEDai enhances real-time clinical surveillance system for hospitals
11. University Hospitals system-approach to stroke care increases the use of tPA therapy by 13.5-fold
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... , ... "FCPX LUT Intense allows users to cycle through different high-contrast color ... of Pixel Film Studios. , With the FCPX LUT Intense Plugin ... their footage. A LUT is a Lookup Table that contains a mathematical formula for ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... ... Consumer access to organic foods and grower access to food processers is about ... and other plant-based foods, will introduce the first consumer product (a new breakfast cereal) ... Organic Products. , The transitional designation means the cereal was made using at least ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... Stern Environmental Group , of Secaucus, New Jersey, ... as Stern’s Real Time Monitoring (RTM) Device. Stern Environmental Group will sell ... industry, colleges for use in dormitories, shelters, and nursing homes for real time bedbug ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Sterling Global Products is ... unique and patented refillable hanging wipe dispenser. The campaign kick-off video is located via ... end June 25, 2016. The goal is to raise $1,000 per day for a ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... ... To better understand the impact of lung cancer in women, the American Lung ... Today, the Lung Association announced Sharad Goyal, MD , as the recipient of The ... Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE initiative, which raises awareness of the impact of lung cancer ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2016)... -- Experts from various countries ... role of technology in innovative healthcare ... International Conference of VPS-Penn Medicine opened in Abu ... Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and ... provide personalized medicine and tailor-made healthcare in disease treatment and ...
(Date:5/22/2016)... 2016 DS Biopharma (DS) ... anti-inflammatory compound DS102 in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ... (NASH) patients. Recent DS preclinical data ... tissue and has bronchodilatory, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic properties ... Company will publish further detail on these findings ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... , May 20, 2016 According ... driver is the increasing demand for affordable healthcare solutions as ... steadily on the rise. In countries like the US, the ... In the US, the consumer price index inflation rate stood ... inflation rate moved up to 3.62% during the same time ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: