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MedWatch Safety Alert. Silver Spring, MD: US Food and Drug Administration; August 20, 2021.
This announcement seeks to raise awareness of the potential risks associated with the use of robotic-assisted surgical devices in mastectomies or cancer-related care. Recommendations for patients who may seek to have robotically assisted surgery include asking about their surgeon's experience with these procedures and discussing benefits, risks, and alternatives regarding available treatment options with their health care provider. Suggestions for health care providers include completing specialized training on procedures they perform. A WebM&M commentary described the challenges and benefits associated with robotic surgery.
Alemzadeh H, Raman J, Leveson N, et al. PLoS One. 2016;11:e0151470.
Using an automated natural language processing tool, this retrospective study evaluated adverse events related to robotic surgery reported between 2000 and 2013. Device malfunctions contributed to many incidents, thus understanding these technical difficulties will be important for avoiding future harms.
Carreyrou J.
This newspaper article discusses complications associated with surgical robots, and explains that such errors may have been exacerbated by inadequate clinician training and production pressures.
Cook RI, Woods DD. Hum Factors. 2006;38:593-613.
New technology continues to offer great advances and challenges. This article takes a detailed look at technology’s impact on human performance by studying the implementation of a new physiological monitoring system for use in cardiac anesthesia. Discussion includes characteristics of the upgraded system, a process-tracing technique to examine the complex physician-computer interaction, and the problems that developed while in use. The authors introduce a number of new cognitive burdens that resulted and discuss how providers attempted to overcome these burdens within the framework of the new system. Though it represents one example, the rich discussion in this article applies to most new technology and the human factors that require it to function as technically designed.