Saul Marquez, Host at Outcomes Rocket Podcast

Paving the Path for Digital Surgery

Sunday June 23rd 2019

Paving the Path for Digital Surgery

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We live in a world of constantly advancing technology. In just over a century, people’s lives have been transformed. Technological innovations that were once thought to be “too futuristic” and “only in movies” are present in our time and we are enjoying their benefits and advantages.

With just a touch, people hundreds of miles apart can talk to and see each other. We control the lighting, temperature, and electronic devices of our homes even when we are in the office or on vacation. We do businesses online. Voice-activated products, artificial intelligence — all these are part of our daily lives.

While the rest of the world is already basking in the advances of technology, the field of surgery is still in the process of getting there. Yes, we’ve seen several amazing advancements in surgical technology, but there is a clamor for more. The market is ready and patients are demanding safer surgeries, better patient care, and lower costs.

One way industry leaders are pushing the boundary is through a new category called digital surgery – the convergence of surgical expertise and digital technologies.

That’s where Verb Surgical Inc. comes in.

This revolutionary company is creating the future of surgery, a future unimagined even a few years ago which involves robotics, advanced instrumentation, enhanced visualization, connectivity, and machine learning. It is funded by Johnson and Johnson and Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences).

In my podcast session with Sertac Guzel, Verb’s Director of Marketing, I asked him what Verb Surgical is, what they do, and why does it matter. Listen to the interview here.

He said ” Verb Surgical is a technology company that’s developing a platform for digital surgery. We don’t view ourselves as another robotics company. What we are trying to do is actually build the foundation for all surgeons and clinicians around the globe to be able to perform with higher efficiency and quality procedures to be able to serve a broader set of patients.”

“Why does it matter? There is a significant lack of access to quality health care. And even if you have access, there is significant variation in terms of outcomes. I think we have been improving drastically over the last hundred years in terms of how surgeries are performed and outcomes constantly keep improving. But we are obviously still not there, and the lack of visibility to where to get the best outcomes or how we can thrive continues to be a major challenge for patients across the board. So a technological foundation that could tackle this challenge and help surgeons across the globe to perform at a higher level is what drives Verb Surgical.”

Even within the last decade when I started my career as an orthopedic device sales representative, many things have changed and outcomes have improved today. It does, however, take a long time. One of my favorite lines in my conversation with Sertac is when he said, “You shouldn’t be looking for stand-alone solutions. You should be looking for powerful integrations.” If we are going to move the needle on outcomes for both patients and providers, we need to be looking at systemic approaches to improve. Not just widgets that create incremental features without adding additional value.

I completely agree. The field of surgery, the whole health space itself is rife with innovations. We should be maximizing our health knowledge with technological advances to improve the user and patient experience. Verb Surgical seems to be determined to change the paradigm, by breaking the black box in surgery. It takes time. If we take a look at any successful technology or solution in orthopedics and surgery, we can see the common theme of having to prove a success, produce volumes of peer-reviewed literature and stand the test of time to gain acceptance. If anyone is able to play the long game to add value to physicians and patients, it is the Verily and J&J backed, Verb Surgical.

What is exciting about Verb Surgical is that they are still in the product development phase and have a strong ecosystem of partners. With the support they have received from Ethicon with its strong instrumentation portfolio and understanding of what clinicians need, and the technological expertise from Silicon Valley, we can expect amazing innovations from this company.

Verb is aiming for a “leap forward” in surgery that will improve outcomes and empower surgeons across the globe. It does sound ambitious, but Sertac Guzel said we can expect something wonderful coming soon.

These days, we have smartphones, smart TV’s, smart homes, smartwatches, etc. With the help of Verb Surgical’s powerful integrations, we may have smart operating rooms within a few years.

We will have more efficient and less risky surgeries for more patients, by giving the tools clinicians need to continuously improve and learn from each other. And that’s the most important thing – doing all these innovations and advancements with the patients in mind.

Chime in below. Would love to hear your thoughts.


Written By

Saul Marquez

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