In 2010, Mottrie and a handful of colleagues first established a training center for robotic surgery at the OLV Hospital in Aalst, Flanders. The idea of setting up an independent institute has continued growing ever since. Today, their ambition has become a reality through an investment of roughly EUR 20 million – half of which came from public funds, the other half from leading medtech firms such as Medtronic and Intuitive. These companies provide their robots and other technology for free to the Orsi Academy.
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Flanders opens leading academy for robotic surgery
Orsi Academy, short for ‘OLV Robotic Surgery Institute’, is Europe’s biggest medtech training center. Last year, it attracted just under 1,000 surgeons to its former location. Back then, the academy only had one robot. Now, around 3,500 surgeons per year will have six robots at their disposal—with room for fourteen more.
Surgeons usually take a one-week training course at Orsi Academy. Afterwards, they get plenty of opportunity to continue learning by connecting to Orsi Academy through a livestream. Mottrie, for example, performed an operation live via this channel, which was observed by more than 5,000 surgeons around the world.
Looking ahead, Mottrie is ambitious and practical: “We already have plans to set up a network with other hospitals that will ‘copy’ our concept and thus turn Orsi Academy into the world’s largest medical robot training center. We have already signed agreements with the Prince Henry Hospital in Melbourne and the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. Our aim is to reach a dozen hospitals in the short term.”