(HealthDay News) — The number of centers performing robotic surgery for radical prostatectomy increased during 2010 to 2014, according to a study published online in The Lancet Oncology.

Ajay Aggarwal, MD, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and colleagues examined the effect of hospital competition and the effect of being an established robotic radical prostatectomy center at the start of 2010 on net gains or losses of patients and the likelihood of closing radical prostatectomy services.

The researchers found that 19,256 patients underwent radical prostatectomy from 2010 through 2014 at a National Health Service provider in England. Thirty-five percent of the 65 radical prostatectomy centers open at the start of the study period had a statistically significant net gain of patients during 2010 to 2014. Ten of these were established robotic centers. Overall, 57% of the 65 centers had a significant net loss of patients, of which 5% were established robotic centers and 10 closed their radical prostatectomy service during the study period. Radical prostatectomy centers that closed were more likely to be located in areas with stronger versus weaker competition. Irrespective of the size of net losses of patients, no robotic surgery center closed. There was an increase in the number of centers performing robotic surgery, from 18 to 71%.

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“Our study highlights the need to have robust quality performance and outcome measures available to patients and referring health centers,” the authors write.

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Aggarwal A, Lewis D, Mason M, et al. Effect of patient choice and hospital competition on service configuration and technology adoption within cancer surgery: a national, population-based study. Lanc Onc

Chalkidou K. Is competition bad for our health(care)? We simply don’t know. Lanc Onc.