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22 June, 2022
Boost for robotic–assisted surgery as Medtronic and Australian Medical Robotics Academy (AMRA) partner to bring best-in-class training to surgeons
Medtronic Australasia, a subsidiary of Medtronic plc (NYSE:MDT) — a global leader in healthcare technology — and Australian Medical Robotics Academy (AMRA), have partnered to provide surgeons best-in-class training in robotic-assisted surgery (RAS).
A broad spectrum of training is being offered at AMRA’s state-of-the-art facilities in Melbourne to enhance the knowledge and skill set in RAS, ranging from basic skills training to procedural training, and to more advanced and specialised areas in surgery.
“This is a significant step for robotic-assisted surgery in Australia and New Zealand,” said Kevin Falzon, senior director for Surgical Robotics at Medtronic Asia Pacific.
“AMRA is a centre of excellence that embraces new technology, adapts to the changing education needs of modern surgeons and has been an advocate for robotic surgical training in Australia.”
“Through this engagement, we will be collaborating closely with a network of experts that make up the faculty at AMRA, all of whom have significant experience in robotic surgery, training and education and who will be the first to deliver our educational content to trainees in Australia.”
The engagement reflects Medtronic’s continued investment in the robotic surgery space as it aims to train and enhance the skill sets of both current and the next generation of surgeons.
“We want to make RAS more accessible – to more hospitals, and more surgeons, for the benefit of patients,” added Falzon.
AMRA Director and CEO Professor Tony Costello said, “AMRA has always been at the forefront of robotics technology in surgery, and we look forward to working with Medtronic to help increase access to the latest robotics technologies to help make a difference for patients and surgeons.”
“By partnering with AMRA, we will be able to utilise the linear training curriculum already designed by AMRA– replacing the traditional apprenticeship model which is lengthy and haphazard – to teach young surgeons how to incorporate what they learn into their practice.”
Professor Costello also noted that it was important for MedTech companies such as Medtronic to work with surgeons and clinical associations to improve patient outcomes.
“MedTech companies play a critical role in helping train surgeons – they know the technology while surgeons know how to operate – and when you combine the two, the outcomes will be better for the patient. Ultimately, we all want to provide better training to get better outcomes for societal and patient benefit.”
The Australian Medical Robotics Academy (AMRA) was established in 2017 as a non-profit organisation and is governed by a Board with a dedicated CEO. Robotic surgery was introduced to Australia by Professor Tony Costello in 2003. Since 2018 there has been exponential growth in the number of procedures performed using the surgical robots. The introduction of multiple new robotic systems will only increase the amount of surgery performed using a variety of robotic machines. Eventually almost all thoraco-abdominal and pelvic surgery will be performed using Robotics.
AMRA has developed a unique robotic surgery education program with a linear pathway through a four-tiered curriculum of robotic surgical training. The AMRA curriculum begins with an online curriculum for all surgeons commencing robotic surgery. Following successful completion of the Foundational component, surgeons proceed to simulation and VR education using a proficiency-based progression, followed by 3D narrated robotic surgery video instruction. Once these tasks are completed satisfactorily, AMRA provides low and high fidelity synthetic human organ models to teach specific surgeries. These surgeries can be scored through video as a measure robotic surgical proficiency.
Medtronic has signed an agreement with Robotic Surgery Evolution Limited (RSE), to provide surgeons best-in-class training in robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) through RSE’s training centre, Australian Medical Robotics Academy (AMRA) in Melbourne.
Robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) has been identified as an emerging medical technology with the potential to help standardise surgical procedures and enable minimally invasive surgery (MIS). MIS may improve patient outcomes, and reduce health system costs.1-3
Clinical benefits of RAS, therefore, depend on the surgical application of the technology. For example, applied in certain soft tissue procedures, benefits include fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, faster return to normal activities, and smaller scars, as compared to open surgery.1-3