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Rob Maliff speaking in
one of the workshops

A day at ECRI Institute's medical device testing laboratory

by Lauren Dubinsky , Senior Reporter
Every year ECRI issues its Top 10 Hospital C-suite Watch List that details the main things that should be on hospital executives' radar. This year, ECRI invited HCB News to attend its second annual journalist briefing to explore the items that made the list.

From three new robotic surgical systems to blue-violet LED light fixtures for infection control, health care leaders have a lot to think about. I've compiled a list of what I think were the three most exciting things discussed in the workshops.

More robots — at lower costs

For over 15 years, Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci Surgical System has been the only robotic surgical system on the market, but that may soon be changing. TransEnterix, Titan Medical and a partnership between Google and Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon may become fierce competition for the robotic surgery giant.

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"It looks like in 2016 Intuitive Surgical will lose its monopoly on surgical robotic systems," Rob Maliff, director of the applied solutions group at ECRI, said in one of the workshops.

TransEnterix submitted 510(k) premarket notification to the FDA in June 2015 for its SurgiBot and is expecting clearance in mid-2016. The company designed the system to be mobile and require fewer staff members to operate it.

Titan Medical's SPORT Surgical System is still currently under development, but it's a surgeon-controlled single incision robotic platform that includes 3-D high-definition vision system, multi-articulating instruments for performing minimally-invasive surgery and a surgeon workstation.

Google and Ethicon announced a partnership in March 2015 to create a new robotic surgery system that will include real-time imaging. The plan is to use Google's analytics to develop a platform that will connect to other data sources, have a smaller footprint and cost less.

"They are developing systems that are reportedly lower cost compared to the da Vinci platform," said Maliff. "The hospital procurement officers can actually negotiate with Intuitive Surgical, which was something that was very difficult to do beforehand."

Hospital infections are not taken lightly

Now that CMS penalizes hospitals for hospital acquired infections (HAIs), reducing the frequency of them has become a major interest among researchers and developers. Many companies have put forth products that sanitize surfaces and kill bacteria using light.

Blue-violet LED light fixtures are one such product. In June 2015, Kenall Manufacturing introduced its Indigo-Clean, which is an LED light fixture that's intended to replace the standard overhead LED light fixtures in health care facilities.
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