Monday, 16 September 2019 22:09

FirstHealth “First in the World” Ion Robotic Bronchoscopy mentor site

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Michael Pritchett, D.O., MPH Michael Pritchett, D.O., MPH FirstHealth

PINEHURST — FirstHealth of the Carolinas has made history once again as the “first in the world” Ion Robotic Bronchoscopy mentor site.


Michael Pritchett, D.O., MPH, pulmonary specialist at Pinehurst Medical Clinic and director of the Chest Center of the Carolinas at FirstHealth, will lead the training center.

In April, FirstHealth became the first health care system in the nation to participate in a clinical study with Intuitive Surgical’s Ion Endoluminal System.  Dr. Pritchett performed the procedure with the robotic system as part of a multi-center clinical study. Other sites participating in the trial include Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Mayo Clinic and Henry Ford Health System.

Dr. Pritchett will now work with physicians from around the world to train them in using this latest technology.

Intuitive Surgical’s robotic-assisted, catheter-based technology is designed to access hard-to-reach areas of the body through natural openings, like the mouth. When applied in the lungs, its aim is to enable early lung cancer diagnoses by accessing and sampling tissue from small nodules in difficult-to-reach areas.

“We are excited to be selected as the first in the world mentor site for this groundbreaking technology,” says Dr. Pritchett. “Intuitive’s Ion Endoluminal Robotic Bronchoscopy Platform offers advantages compared to conventional navigation bronchoscopy that we have been doing for many years. The ability to see much deeper into the lungs and have precise control over movements of the catheter could be a game changer in terms of accessing smaller nodules located in the outer portions of the lungs. I am honored to be given the opportunity to work with physicians from around the world to further expand the use of this technology.”

Dr. Pritchett joined FirstHealth of the Carolinas in 2008 after completing a three-year pulmonary and critical care fellowship at the Tufts University School of Medicine, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston.  He graduated from Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Lauderdale and completed an internal medicine residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.

He has served as medical director of the Chest Center of the Carolinas since 2010.

“Dr. Pritchett is at the forefront of innovation in the detection and treatment of early stage lung cancers,” says Matt Sherer, administrative director, oncology and clinical trials at FirstHealth. “He plays an integral role in bringing new technologies to FirstHealth to revolutionize the screening, diagnosis, staging and treatment of lung cancer, and we are thrilled to be able to share his expertise as the first in the world Ion Robotic Bronchoscopy mentor site.”