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Robot Hal has been busy, thanks to you

By Deni Hoover, vice president, Surgical Services

You may know that Salem Health has used robotic surgery since 2008, when a grant from our Salem Hospital Foundation funded a da Vinci system to provide this minimally invasive approach. Lately, our robot, affectionately named Hal, has been getting a lot more attention.

We were concerned that Hal (being hard to move) wasn’t being used efficiently — but our physicians told us that they had patients waiting for him. Also, some of our general surgeons were ready to start offering robotic surgery to patients for hernia and other procedures. Our gynecologic surgeons also began offering single-site hysterectomies, which offer quick recovery and minimal scarring. robot

We launched a test of change with Willamette Urology and Salem Health Medical Group on Mondays. Use on that day went up by 66 percent! Our goal was to “free the robot,” so Hal was no longer reserved for a single block holder’s use. For example, the robot room could be used by one surgeon in the morning and another in the afternoon instead of sitting idle while non-robotic cases were performed in that room.

Next we tried the same concept on Fridays, which more than doubled use on that day. Wednesday was our next target, and now we are expanding our test of change to all five days.

With increasing demand for robotic surgery from urological, gynecological, and now general surgeons, our robot use with this scheduling test of change has gone up to about 40 percent for 2017, so far.

We are grateful for team members trained to work with Hal, and the following surgeons who helped to free him:

OB-GYN: Drs. Bishop, Blanchard, Bruegl, Buedefeldt-Pollard, Chong, DeGeest, Frank, Goldsworthy, Harder, Moffitt, Munro, Peterson, Rice, and Sakon

Urology: Drs. Bashey, Crane, Hay, and Warner

General Surgery: Drs. Caton, Kim, and Lin

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