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Granting Clinical Privileges for Telerobotic Surgery

Ballantyne, Garth H. MD, FACS, FACRS; Kelley, William E. Jr. MD, FACS

Surgical Laparoscopy, Endoscopy & Percutaneous Techniques: February 2002 - Volume 12 - Issue 1 - p 17-25

Surgeons can now perform operations on their patients while sitting at a remote site. During telerobotic operations, the surgeon sits at a computer console. The computer translates the motions of the surgeon's hands into motions of the robotic instruments. Introduction of telerobotics into clinical practice raises issues comparable to those generated by the rapid introduction of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the late 1980s. As a result, we have instituted processes in our hospitals for the granting of clinical privileges for telerobotic surgery. These processes are derived from the guidelines of the Society of American Gastrointestinal Endoscopic Surgeons for granting clinical privileges for laparoscopic general surgery. Our hospitals require the following: (1) board certification or board eligibility for the appropriate surgical board; (2) clinical privileges for the open and laparoscopic operations that will be performed telerobotically; (3) satisfactory completion of the Food and Drug Administration–mandated training course in the safe use of the robotic surgical system; (4) performance of telerobotic operations in animate models; (5) observation of clinical cases of telerobotic surgery by an expert surgeon; (6) acting as bedside assistant surgeon in telerobotic operations or supervision by a preceptor during the surgeon's initial operations; (7) observation by a proctor of the surgeon's initial clinical telerobotic operations; and (8) ongoing monitoring of surgical outcomes of telerobotic operations. This process has facilitated the safe and orderly introduction of telerobotics operations into clinical practice in our hospitals.

From Hackensack University Medical Center (GHB), Hackensack, New Jersey; and Henrico Doctors' Hospital (WEK), Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.

Received October 2, 2001; accepted October 16, 2001.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Garth H. Ballantyne, Professor of Surgery, Hackensack University Medical Center, 20 Prospect Avenue, Suite 901, Hackensack, NJ 07601. Address electronic mail to:

Copyright © 2002 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.