Mad Money

On the Line: Intuitive Surgical CEO Lonnie Smith

When given the chance, patients will choose the most effective and least invasive treatment they can find, “and that’s true worldwide,” said Intuitive Surgical Chairman and CEO Lonnie Smith. He called in to Mad Money for Thursday’s show. That patient initiative should help drive growth of the company’s da Vinci surgical machine.

What’s interesting about the da Vinci, which is used to perform protatectomies and hysterectomies, is that it’s not growing as quick as it could because it works too well. The da Vinci gets people out of the hospital quickly, but some healthcare systems pay out on a per diem basis. So hospitals are in no rush for their patients to leave.

Smith also explained why Intuitive Surgical decided to sell its stake in Hansen Medical. The finance committee at ISRG doesn’t want to hold minor positions in other companies on a long-term basis. The move had nothing to do with Hansen, he said.

“This guy’s for real. This company’s for real,” Cramer said. “We’ve been behind it. We’re sticking with it. It goes much higher.”

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