"This relationship is a tremendous marketing opportunity for Saint Barnabas, and it raises a lot of awareness to a market of people that is extremely diverse," says Sally Malech, MPH, director of public relations and marketing. "You can't find all the stores there under one roof in many places in the world actually because it's a very high-end mall. It also draws a lot of people from Pennsylvania to New York City, so it's not a local mall that only pulls in the surrounding population."
Malech says she immediately saw the strength of LaSalle's idea to market robotic surgery at the mall and to this audience.
"Patients have all of these preconceptions about robotic surgery and this was an opportunity to really explain how it works, and they could see it," says Malech. "They could see what the instruments looked like and how small they were, but also it helped them understand the benefits of robotic surgery."
"Saint Barnabas is our flagship hospital for the system and commands a lot of visibility. And as a leader in the area for robotic surgery, I thought it would be a good idea to bring it to the community so they could put their hands on it," says LaSalle.
The first Saint Barnabas surgical robot interactive display was held in December 2011. Visitors tested the accuracy and efficiency of their movements on a simulator robot, which operated like a video game, allowing users to move jacks into colored bowls. A full-motion surgical robot was also on display for visitors to test drive by manipulating tiny rubber bands with the four surgical arms, horse-shoe style, over colorful, gumdrop shaped pegs.