You must have seen robots performing operations in a science fiction movie, but now you will see it in real. Yes, I am very much talking about robotics in Healthcare. The healthcare industry is at its crucial point. Everything from how we interact with the world to living our daily lives is changing. The advancement in technology and innovations are inevitably pushing us towards a future where most of the work will be automated or might be performed by robots instead of humans. In 2020, the impact of robotics on Healthcare became more evident than ever.
With the COVID – 19 pandemic and medical understaffing worldwide, it became apparent that we need additional help. And Artificial Intelligence is the only way out right now. Robotic experts have already set their sights on the healthcare industry. It is believed that an autonomous robot will soon become a regular member of the hospital’s medical staff. Autonomous robots will be performing every duty, from checking a patient’s pulse, to reading case notes and even performing surgery. Here in this post, we will discuss the revolution in Healthcare and how robotics is taking the healthcare industry to another level.
How Robotic is transforming the future of Healthcare?
The Healthcare industry is one of the major industries. Robotics in Healthcare is not a new idea; it’s just the coronavirus outbreak that has expedited the drive to automate the healthcare industry.
Only after the COVID – 19 pandemic, many countries could realize the importance of robotics in Healthcare. Believe it or not, Robotics in Healthcare can help solve many problems that the industry is facing right now, like understaffing, limited prediction capacities, the lack of time for research and informed decision making, and poor patient experiences. Apart from this, Robotics can also help make Healthcare more accessible to everyone.
More and more countries are now adopting robotics in Healthcare. The adoption of an autonomous healthcare system is just a matter of time. The belief is that soon Healthcare and technology will become more prominent fields of investment. Medical robotics is booming.
Ever since the coronavirus outbreak, many hospitals have already started using robotics. For instance, patients in Höpital Pitié Salpétriére in Paris, France were taken care of by Pepper – the caring, humanoid robot. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pepper helped patients in the intensive care ward communicate with their families, who were not allowed to visit. The robot stands next to the patient’s bed and uses the tablet on its chest to deliver a video conference. This resulted in the reduced stress levels of both the patient and family and reduced the hospital staff risk levels as well.
Another excellent example is the Da Vinci surgical system; it has become a perfect teammate of a human being. It makes the surgery easy and convenient. Moreover, it also ensures the patient’s safety. This robotic surgical system is developed by the American company Intuitive Surgical. It is specifically designed to facilitate surgery using a minimally invasive approach and is controlled by a surgeon from a console.
Types of Robots used in Healthcare
At present, there are four types of robots used in Healthcare, namely:
- Surgical Robots
- Hospital Robots
- Care Robots
Surgical robots are the robots that are used for surgeries, like Da Vinci. Intuitive Surgical developed the first surgical robot, and the company dominates the majority of the market. However, other manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic have also started developing robotic surgical systems.
Like the da Vinci Surgical System, Stryker developed the MAKO system that focuses on orthopaedic surgeries, including partial and complete knee replacements. Undoubtedly, the adoption rates of robotic surgical systems are increasing globally.
Exoskeletons are used to help people with paralysis to walk again. Besides, they can also be used for fixing rehabilitation or malformations after a spinal cord or brain injury as they can provide weak muscles with the extra support that is needed to perform the movements and heal the damage. This device work through a combination of pre-set and input movements. The exoskeleton market is the fastest-growing segment in robotics. It includes bio-feedback waistband lumbar support for airport and warehouse workers, which are very common in Japan. The leading companies in the field include ReWalk Robotics, Cyberdyne, and Ekso Bionics.
Hospital robots are used to deliver laboratory specimens, medications, and other sensitive material within a hospital environment. For example, Aethon’s TUG autonomous mobile robot. TUG has a built-in map and an array of on-board sensors that it uses to navigate. Apart from this, it uses Wi-Fi to communicate with automatic doors, elevators, and fire alarms.
Besides all the major medical equipment manufacturers, McKesson, GE, and Siemens are also developing hospital robots. iRobot has teamed up with InTouch Health to create a hospital robot. Another company, Xenex, has created a disinfect robot. It cleans using pulsed Xenon light and can disinfect an entire patient room in less than 20 minutes.
Care robots, as the name says, are meant to provide care and support, especially to elderly and disabled patients. For example, telepresence robots, also known as ‘robots on a stick.’ Telepresence is specifically meant to monitor the elderly. They monitor everything from fall detection to allowing the patients to communicate on-screen with a doctor. Besides, they can also interact and provide emotional support to those lacking regular human contact.
Additionally, care robots can assist nurses with numerous tasks, such as recording temperature, taking blood, or improving patient hygiene. Care robots can be beneficial for nurses, as they would be able to focus more on individualized patient care and devising treatment plans. Robear Japanese, developed by research institute RIKEN and Sumitomo Riko, are already helping patients and nurses in Japan. Big Manufacturers like Toyota and Honda are already developing human support robots (HSRs).
Advantages of Autonomous Robots in Healthcare
Obviously, automation of the healthcare industry will benefit both doctors and patients by and large. It will lead to a better doctor and patient experience, which is the primary need of an hour. There are many advantages of using robots in Healthcare; some of them are as follows:
1. Increased efficiency
One of the most obvious advantages of the use of robots in the Healthcare sector is increased efficiency. Undoubtedly, machines can do things much better and much faster than humans. Robots in Healthcare will result in increased efficiency. Robots have made surgical procedures a lot easier. Surgeries are now minimally-invasive, and recovery times have significantly reduced.
2. Maximized Productivity
Doctors can get tired, but there is no way a robot can get exhausted. Robots can work 24 X 7. They can work tirelessly, thereby maximizing productivity. Moreover, the more clinical tasks robots can do, the more time doctors can have to concentrate on other relevant areas.
3. Great Precision
Robots in Healthcare can be extraordinarily precise. There are the least chances of mistakes and errors with robots. The use of robots in Healthcare will eliminate the chances of human errors to a minimum.
A doctor needs to have staff under him/her to perform tasks. However, Robotics can perform multiple tasks. They can monitor various clinical settings, like checking a patient’s pulse, reading case notes, assuming the prescriptions, making the diagnosis, performing surgery, looking onto the patients, etc.
5. Reduces Stress and Work Pressure of Doctors and Healthcare Specialists
Using Robotics in Healthcare can be one of the efficient ways of reducing excessive stress and work pressure from doctors and healthcare specialists. Robotics can take care of myriads of tasks in a clinical setting, which ultimately reduces the doctors’ and other medical staff’s work pressure. The time that is saved can be used by doctors to concentrate on more relevant areas.
Disadvantages of Autonomous Robots in Healthcare
1. Costly Treatment
The cost of maintenance and installation of the technologies can be huge. It will impact the overall healthcare sector due to which the cost of treatment will be too expensive and costly that many people won’t be able to afford.
2. Require More Space
Setting up a Robotic technology in a normal clinical setup is not easy. The space required for the installation of robot technologies is comparatively more than the typical clinical setups. This could be a problem for many healthcare facilities.
Lastly, one of the incontestable impacts of Robotics in Healthcare would be increased unemployment. Of course, Robotics will replace workforce utilization in the field of health sectors, which will lead to unemployment.
The Alternative Way Out for Healthcare Workers
With more and more Healthcare automation, there will be too little need for human activities, which will result in unemployment. Undoubtedly, embracing technology will lead to better healthcare systems; however, it will pose a severe threat to healthcare workers. Of course, nobody wants to lose his/her job, as it impacts the person’s overall life. But by taking the right steps, one can change the course of his/her life.
We all know that the world is moving towards digitalization. In the future, people with digital skillsets will be required to perform the tasks. If you are working in the healthcare sector and are worried about your future due to automation, this will be the right time to start learning digital skillsets!
If you learn digital skillset now, in the future, you can start your own online business or work as a freelancer. You don’t need to be highly educated or tech-savvy to learn digital skills. Irrespective of your age, and job profile, you can learn digital skills and prepare yourself for a happy and fulfilling life! NOW IS THE TIME TO THINK & PLAN FOR YOUR FUTURE!!