Despite limited and conflicting evidence for the efficacy of newly developed robotic technology for laparoscopic prostatectomy, this technology is spreading rapidly. Because the newer technology is more costly, reasons for this rapid adoption are unclear. The authors of this report sought to determine whether hospital acquisition of robotic technology was associated with volume of prostate cancer surgery.
The inpatient dataset of claims records from 2002 to 2008 and the acquisition dates of robotic technology were used to examine the rates of prostatectomy in Wisconsin hospitals. In analyses that accounted for hospital and referral region characteristics, changes in hospital prostatectomy volume were examined for their association with technology acquisition. Overall trends in the rate of prostatectomy also were examined over the study period.
In total, 10,021 prostatectomies were performed in 52 hospitals in Wisconsin's 8 health referral regions during the study period. The mean quarterly prostatectomy volume in hospitals that did not acquire the technology was 4.5 in 2002 and 3.1 in 2007/2008. In contrast, the mean quarterly prostatectomy volume in hospitals that went on to acquire robotic technology was 16.5 in 2002 and 24.8 in 2007/2008. In adjusted models, the acquisition of a robot was associated with a 114% annual increase (95% confidence interval, 62%-177% annual increase) in hospital prostatectomy volume. The average Wisconsin hospital prostatectomy volume was unchanged during 2002 through 2006 but increased by 25.6% in 2007.
Robotic technology acquisition occurred rapidly in Wisconsin hospitals, and hospitals that acquired a robot had large increases in prostatectomy volume. Cancer 2011;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.