Dr. Robert Poston is a cardiac surgeon who has been in practice for 14 years doing a wide variety of procedures.  His specialty is the use of less invasive and robotic techniques to perform heart operations in order to reduce recovery time.  He has an extensive background in this area based on more than 1000 cases of experience and his own in depth research into the outcomes that can be expected with these innovations vs. the standard, open method.  Since his first robotic case a decade ago, Dr. Poston has acquired one of the busiest practices in the country in robotic heart surgery.  He is only 1 of around 20 surgeons that have developed sufficient expertise to perform robotic heart surgery safely.  As a result, patients that need cardiac surgery have sought him out from all over the country with the universal goal of shortening their recovery times after surgery.

The value of Dr. Poston’s research contributions to robotic surgery have been recognized by over 100 publications in several high impact medical and surgical journals over the past 10 years.  His work has been cited over 2000 times, resulting in an H-index score for his publications of 30, which is in the top 10th percentile for academic cardiac surgeons. In addition, his research has been funded by a number of sources including the prestigious RO1 grant from the National Institutes of Health (HL080480).  Patients have consistently admired his passion for improving their recovery while providing excellent surgical outcomes as reflected by the highest possible marks for patient satisfaction on hospital surveys and the HealthGrades public reporting site.  For more information on Dr. Poston’s career, see the following link:

From 2011 until 2014, Dr. Poston was the Chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Arizona.  In this role, he developed into the type of leader which could best be summarized as a “pragmatic visionary”.  The three years for his division under his stewardship demonstrated a track record 8 major innovations that were all new to Tucson and many were new to the country.

Based on lessons learned from leading major change at other institutions, he insisted on each of these innovations being subject to the scrutiny of peer review research and publication.  He also focused his efforts on developing and maintaining a high performance team in both the OR and ICU that was able to manage both conventional and less invasive surgery at this highest level.  This required a leader that fosters an environment where team members are willing to speak up about the unique challenges posed by these new programs and patients.  He challenges the team to continuously improve safety through regular briefings, debriefings, and rehearsals. (more information about rehearsals.)

When feasible, he approaches problems with patient care using a multidisciplinary approach to bring the best possible solutions rapidly forward.  In general, his philosophy for improving safety is for surgical teams to adopt the lessons learned from the aviation industry.  This approach, termed crew resource management, has yielded dramatic improvements in airline travel and has only recently been adopted to improve surgical safety.

In February 2015Dr. Poston started his position as chairman of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at St. Francis Medical Center.  At St. Francis, he has continued his leadership philosophy and developed a robotic heart surgery practice focusing on heart bypass and mitral valve repairs that has quickly become the 5th busiest robotic heart surgery program in the country.  For more information on Dr. Poston’s arrival to St. Francis Medical Center, see the following links.

When outside of the hospital, Dr. Poston enjoys time with his family – his wife Susan and two children – who live in Princeton, NJ.  For more information on Dr. Poston’s interests, see the following link:

Last updated: July 19, 2016 at 11:41 am