I’m A Doctor, Not A Robot: How Medical Robots Are Changing The Medical Field

Robots are everywhere, which is why it’s not surprising to hear the good they’re doing for the medical world. Medical robots and AI are helping medical students and professionals conduct procedures and tend to patients with greater and more precise care.

Advancements in robotics are being made to pave the way for a future of new medical possibilities. AI and robotics are already helping patients on a financial level by reducing the cost of medical procedures and making surgery safer with fewer consequences.

Aside from precision and cost, how are robots changing the medical field and medical schools for the better? As it turns out, there are a number of benefits the medical world will soon be taking advantage of.

How Are Medical Robots Changing The Medical Field?

From robotic medical assistants to giving massage therapists a literal helping hand, robotics are changing the way we receive healthcare. To learn more, consider the following facts about modern technology’s growing beneficial role in the medical field.

  1. Robots are helping to reduce stress in patients. Humans are fiercely social animals. In fact, we can ease the pain of our loved ones simply by holding hands. It turns out there’s science behind wanting your mom when you get hurt. To reduce stress in patients, the leading Japanese industrial automation pioneer AIST has developed PARO, a robotic baby harp seal that encourages relaxation and motivation in patients and their caregivers. PARO helps patients feel comfortable in medical environments where therapy animals may not be allowed.
  2. Robots are helping nurses draw blood faster. For many medical students, there’s nothing quite so frustrating as not being able to find a vein to draw blood from a patient. The last thing you want to do is make your patient uncomfortable by poking them too many times. This is where Veebot comes in. Veebot was first developed by a team of engineers and physicians from Princeton, Stanford, and Duke University in 2010. The robot administers blood draws and IVs within a minute’s time with an accuracy of 83%.
  3. Surgical robot sales are expected to reach $6.4 billion by 2020. Surgical robots are already highly popular and their popularity will only continue to grow. Robotic systems such as the da Vinci Surgical System enables surgeons to be able to perform procedures with greater control, precision, and enhanced vision. In fact, surgical robotic systems help to reduce the need for invasive surgeries because physicians and surgeons may no longer need to move or remove parts of the body to access affected areas. For instance, surgeons can perform surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System with only a few small incisions.
  4. Robots can help lift patients when healthcare workers can’t. According to the CDC, back injuries are one of the most common nonfatal injuries experienced in the healthcare sector. To reduce the risk of injury for both healthcare workers and patients, Japanese companies RIKEN and Sumitomo Riko Company Limited have developed the Robear. Robear is a large robotic teddy bear without the fur designed to lift and move patients, help them stand, and turn them to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers.
  5. Microbots can help to deliver medication to targeted areas. One of the most problematic side effects of chemotherapy is that it can impact healthy tissue. But what if there were a way to deliver medication to targeted areas of the body? That was the idea of researchers from the Max Planck Institute. Still in development is the scallop microbot, designed to swim through your body’s non-Newtonian fluids to deliver medication directly to specific areas in the body. The microbots are small enough (800 microns) to swim through your lymphatic system and bloodstream.
  6. Hospitals have seen a 70% drop in hospital acquired infections thanks to robotics. Medical facilities do their best to ensure optimal sanitation to protect both the sick and those with weakened immune systems. Yet one in every 25 patients will still contract hospital acquired infections. Robotics are helping to kick these infections to the curb. The Xenex Robot, developed by Xenex Disinfection Systems, can systematically disinfect any space in a healthcare facility using specialized UV disinfection methodologies. Compared to other disinfecting devices, the Xenex Robot is more effective at causing cellular damage directly to microorganisms. In fact, since using the Xenex Robot, the Westchester Medical Center reported a 70% drop in hospital acquired infections in its Intensive Care Unit.

It’s no secret we’re headed in the direction of another technological revolution. These exciting changes in robotic and AI development are helping to make the medical industry a more efficient and safer place. Although we’re yet to see the medical treatments and technology of Star Trek, we’re still boldly going where no one has gone before.

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