In the United States, there is one da Vinci surgical robot per 100,000 inhabitants, in Europe – per 800,000 inhabitants. In Poland it is as many as 6.5 million inhabitants. Such conclusions can be drawn from the report published by PMR and Upper Finance, entitled “Market of surgical robotics in Poland 2019. Forecasts for 2020-2023”. According to the authors of the study, the market of surgical robotics in Poland has a chance to grow within the next four years from the current PLN 92m to about PLN 500m.
Nearly 1.3 million operations in 2019
According to the authors of the report, nearly 5,300 thousand da Vinci devices have been installed in the world so far and over 6 million operations have been performed with the use of this equipment. In 2019 alone, the number of surgeries will exceed 1.25 million. The most dynamic growths in 2017-2019 concern general surgery. It is this area that recorded the most dynamic growth – from a negligible number of operations performed in 2008 to about 375,000 procedures at the end of 2018.
Other popular applications of robotic surgery are gynaecology and urology, which was originally the main application of robotics in the world and remains so in Poland. On mature markets, the robot is also increasingly used in chest and head and neck surgery – so-called Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS).
In 2023 there will be 30 da Vinci robots in Poland?
According to Joanna Szyman, Vice President of Upper Finance, there should be about 40-50 da Vinci robots in a country the size of Poland. Taking into account the level of market development, the manner of financing health care and macroeconomic conditions, by the end of 2023 we can expect a total of about 30 installations.
– Such a dynamic growth, with our assumption of doubling the efficiency of the installed equipment, would mean an increase in the value of the domestic market to the level of almost PLN 500m. This figure takes into account the value of sales of equipment, tools, disposable materials or services, and above all, the value of medical services themselves – adds Joanna Szyman.
Lack of staff hinders market development
According to the survey conducted by PMR and Upper Finance, the respondents strongly emphasise the barriers to the development of the robotics systems market in medicine in Poland. The most important barrier limiting the development of the market is the lack of financing of procedures in which Da Vinci is used from public funds at the appropriate level.
According to Monika Stefanczyk, Pharma and Healthcare Business Unit Director at PMR, a strong brake on both private and public health care is the problem of insufficiently qualified medical staff.
– In the case of a robot purchase, the provider must not forget about measures related to training of doctors and preparing the staff to operate such complex equipment. It is worth noting that this is also a long-term process – adds Monika Stefanczyk.
The most important factor in the development of this market is the predominance of robotics over traditional surgery in the context of patients’ quality of life.
Will there be a reimbursement of robotics procedures?
According to PMR and Upper Finance analysts, the market dynamics would increase significantly if the National Health Fund (NFZ) introduced a separate financing program for procedures involving robotic systems. Despite the introduction of pilotage announced by the Ministry of Health and the subsequent national programme supporting robotic surgery, no solutions allowing for universal financing of robotic procedures have appeared so far.
In 2017, the Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Tarification (AOTMiT) has issued a positive opinion on the reimbursement of medical robot surgery for three indications: colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and endometrial cancer. As a result, the Ministry of Health prepared a draft regulation introducing operations in these indications into the basket of guaranteed benefits. However, the project was suspended.
The survey, carried out by PMR and Upper Finance, was conducted among representatives of institutions working with authorised robot systems, i.e. in the Wojewódzki Szpital Specjalistyczny in Wroclaw, NZOZ Szpital Mazovia – Specjalistyczny Szpital Urologiczny, Wojewodzkie Centrum Onkologii in Poznan, Szpital Medicover in Warsaw, Szpital na Klinach in Krakow and in the Mazowiecki Szpital Wojewodzki in Siedlce.