Robotics in Health Care Will Be Spotlighted by MCGS Panel

The robotics revolution is taking the health-care industry by storm. And the chances are good that your next operation in a hospital will be performed by a surgeon moving a joystick rather than wielding a scalpel.

At the 39th Midwest Growth Capital Symposium on May 15, a panel will shine the spotlight on the advances being made in robotics and their growing footprint in mainstream health care.

“When robotics first entered the scene, the goal was to increase and standardize the quality of surgical procedures, improve patient outcomes and expand access to these procedures while reducing health-care recovery times and costs,” says Jim Adox, managing director of Venture Investors. “The next chapter in robotics is focused on enabling new procedures and treatments that are currently not available today. Robotic procedures are advancing from laparoscopic to endoluminal to completely noninvasive.”

As the panel’s moderator, Adox has assembled a knowledgeable group of commentators that includes two practicing surgeons who have worked with leading robotics companies: Stephen Kovacs, DO, FCCP, a pulmonologist and co-director of UPMC Hamot Comprehensive Lung Center in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Michael A. Pritchett, DO, MPH, a pulmonary specialist at Pinehurst Medical Clinic in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

To provide a perspective on robotics from a startup’s point of view, the panel also will include Josh Stopek, vice president of research and development at Histosonics in Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan spinout has developed Robotically Assisted Sonic Therapy (RAST)™, which uses histotripsy and ultrasound to destroy tumors and other unwanted tissue while reducing patient trauma and health-care costs. In April, Histosonics closed on a $54 million Series C round of funding.

The robotics space has become increasingly competitive, as medical-device makers vie with one another to get new products on the market and health systems strive to be the first among their peers to make specialized robotics treatments available to their patients.

“This is a really hot area, which is why I was excited to put this panel together for the MGCS,” Adox says.