The commercialization of robotic surgery: unsubstantiated marketing of gynecologic surgery by hospitals

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Sep;207(3):174.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2012.06.050. Epub 2012 Jun 29.

Abstract

Objective: We analyzed the content, quality, and accuracy of information provided on hospital web sites about robotic gynecologic surgery.

Study design: An analysis of hospitals with more than 200 beds from a selection of states was performed. Hospital web sites were analyzed for the content and quality of data regarding robotic-assisted surgery.

Results: Among 432 hospitals, the web sites of 192 (44.4%) contained marketing for robotic gynecologic surgery. Stock images (64.1%) and text (24.0%) derived from the robot manufacturer were frequent. Although most sites reported improved perioperative outcomes, limitations of robotics including cost, complications, and operative time were discussed only 3.7%, 1.6%, and 3.7% of the time, respectively. Only 47.9% of the web sites described a comparison group.

Conclusion: Marketing of robotic gynecologic surgery is widespread. Much of the content is not based on high-quality data, fails to present alternative procedures, and relies on stock text and images.

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Health Information / standards*
  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Hospitals*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Marketing*
  • Robotics*