Freeman First in Region to Utilize MONARCH® Robotic Bronchoscopy

Platform Transforms Physicians' Ability to Diagnose Lung Cancer Early

(Joplin, MO)Freeman Health System announces transformative new technology that gives pulmonologists a better way to see inside a patient’s lungs and a more precise tool for diagnosing and treating lung cancer. Freeman is the first and only hospital in Missouri, southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma to invest in the MONARCH® Platform by Auris.

“Lung cancer can be particularly difficult to diagnose because the airways are full of twists and turns, reaching deep into the lungs,” said Paula Baker, Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer. “The MONARCH® platform integrates the latest advancements in robotics, software, data science, and endoscopy. It helps our pulmonologists find lung nodules earlier through the least invasive approach.”

Lung cancer has a lower five-year survival rate than other common cancers. However, if diagnosed and treated early, survival rates increase greatly.

“We’re proud that MONARCH® brings engineering and intelligent innovation to healthcare,” said Jake Buchanan, Auris Territory Manager. “Only fifteen percent of lung cancer cases are currently diagnosed early, when cancer is most successfully treated. One-third of patients have been leaving their doctors without a diagnosis because of previous bronchoscopes’ limitations. MONARCH® enhances the physician’s capability to improve outcomes in safer procedures and to change patient’s lives.”

MONARCH® reinvents the concept of the bronchoscope using robotics and a novel telescoping design, enabling it to reach deeper into the lung than conventional methods. At a ribbon cutting on April 22, pulmonologist Dr. Grant Pierson of the Freeman Lung Institute demonstrated how the doctor uses a controller to guide the bronchoscope through branch-like airways while constantly maintaining a full visual from an integrated camera throughout the procedure.

“With a traditional bronchoscope, trying to look at an eight-millimeter nodule in multiple airways of the lung, I would have to guess where to make turns. MONARCH® takes the guesswork out of bronchoscopy because I never lose sight,” said Dr. Grant Pierson. “I’m excited because the possibilities with this technology are endless. I foresee being able to biopsy a nodule for diagnosis and then initiate treatment even before a patient walks out the door.”

The bronchoscope and sheath telescoping design provide stability and control as the physician navigates airways. Each component of the bronchoscope can be independently articulated, advanced, retracted, and positionally locked, allowing physicians greater control and maneuverability deep in the lung, where most small nodules are found. This enables doctors to detect and biopsy nodules and confirm lung cancer earlier, which results in more effective treatment.

Lung cancer is the most lethal type of cancer, claiming more victims each year than breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined. Every 3.3 minutes, someone in the United States dies of lung cancer. In 2020, there were an estimated 228,820 new diagnoses of lung cancer in the U.S. alone.

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020-2021. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit


Lisa Olliges, Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator
Freeman Health System

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