If you're like me, you probably immediately toss about 90% of the mail you receive on a given day. Over this weekend, I received a glossy piece of mail labeled "Resident" that typically would have gone straight into the trash.
The piece in question was an eight-page "magazine" from a major hospital in my hometown of Minneapolis -- Abbott Northwestern. It's a good hospital, but that's not what caught my attention. Instead, I spotted a small note on the front page promoting an article on "robot-assisted surgery."
Inside, I found a full-length piece touting the many benefits of Intuitive Surgical's
The article touted the system's advantages, including its impressive 3-D images, which provide the surgeon a much better view. It also explained how the system gives surgeons a "steadier grip" and noted how its "smaller size" lets them maneuver better than conventional tools in tight spots. It also touted the fact that the da Vinci system "reduces pain and trauma" and yields a "quicker recovery." And as if that weren't enough, it ended with a quote from the hospital's lead surgeon: "We see this as the technology of the future."
None of these advantages should surprise regular Fool readers; Intuitive Surgical has been a Rule Breakers recommendation for some time now. Instead, I'd like to note that this article essentially amounts to free advertising for Intuitive Surgical's systems.
I don't know how many da Vinci surgical systems Abbott Northwestern Hospital currently has, but I predict that this positive article will prompt an increasing number of men to request prostate surgery performed with Intuitive Surgical equipment.
At a minimum, this means that Intuitive Surgical, which operates under something akin to a "razor-and-blades" business model, will benefit by supplying the individual components for each operation. Longer-term, it's possible that the hospital might even order an additional system or two from Intuitive Surgical.
Either way, the company -- and its investors -- win.
Interested in reading more about Intuitive Surgical? Check out these articles:
- Intuitive Surgical Turns Obscure into Opportunity
- I Love Intuitive Surgical
- The Intuitive Future of Medicine
- Are Intuitive Surgical and iRobot Just Babies?