Robots have been walking the line between science fiction and reality for so long, that expectations about their capabilities are very diverse. Think of The Terminator franchise that you can often find on a movie channel on let’s say, a service plan like Cox cable plans. Killer cyborgs from the future? Skynet triggering a nuclear apocalypse? Sounds a bit far-fetched and it is. On the other hand, robots assisting in surgeries, dispensing medicine, or even treating humans from within their bodies are very much a reality. This blog explores how robotics is already changing the field of healthcare and medicine and will continue to do so in the future.
Medical Robotics in Modern Healthcare
Many people are wary of machines and robots taking up conventionally human jobs in any field. The same is true of medicine. However, there is one very strong argument in favor of using robotics in healthcare. That is that it can take up repetitive, time-consuming tasks and leave healthcare workers free to spend more time actually caring for people who need medical attention. Another solid argument is that machines don’t require food, and do not discriminate when it comes to offering medical attention.
Since robots don’t complain about their work, don’t need to be paid, and don’t need to rest, it makes them ideal additions to any organization. In healthcare, where a patient can need medical attention at any time of the day, robots are even more valuable. Of course, the human touch is a key part of the healthcare process. This is why it shall always remain relevant, even in the face of robotic coworkers. Some of the ways robots are in use in medicine today and in the future include the following:
- Assisting With Precise and Sophisticated Surgical Techniques
- Helping With Disinfecting and Blood-Drawing Duties
- Offering a Better Life To Seniors in Assisted Living Homes
Let’s take a look at these below.
Assisting With Precise and Sophisticated Surgical Techniques
Surgery is one of the most high-pressure situations a medical professional can be in. The margin for error is extremely low, and mistakes can be disastrous. That’s not to mention that there can be very long waiting lists for certain kinds of surgery. These waiting lists are usually impacted by how much manpower and resources are available to a healthcare provider. The surgical robotics industry aims to tackle both of these problems and has grown significantly over the past few years.
For example, the Da Vinci surgical system has been in use in many surgical procedures for more than 15 years. It features wristed instruments that allow the surgeon to perform far more precise movements than would be possible with the human hand alone. At the same time, it uses 3D magnification to help surgeons see exactly what they are doing. In the future, more advanced systems may start taking over the surgical process entirely. This could usher in a whole new era of surgical medicine.
Helping With Disinfecting and Blood-Drawing Duties
Nurses usually work 12-hour shifts, sometimes more than one shift in a day. At the same time, they are usually the ones most in contact with the patients. As such, they manage things like checking your vital signs, drawing your blood for tests, and helping with your with personal hygiene. Of course, with so many responsibilities to juggle, nurses can often get overwhelmed. This stress usually has a negative impact on the patient-nurse relationship. However, robotics offers a solution. Imagine if a robot could take care of simple tasks like drawing blood, disinfecting the room, or even delivering medication and supplies.
One example is the TUG medical delivery robot. It is in use in over 140 hospitals in the United States, making it a common sight in many places. The TUG makes over 50,000 deliveries of medical supplies to nurses and staff who need them. The TUG can carry loads of more than 453 kilograms without complaining. All of this frees up more time for nurses to actually care for the patients under their charge. With further advancements, we could see robots taking up a more active role in many nursing duties.
Offering a Better Life to Seniors in Assisted Living Homes
Of course, using robotics in the medical and healthcare industry is not limited to doing menial work. Medical robots have a lot of potential in making life easier for seniors or people in assisted living homes. These robots are available 24/7 to address the needs of the elderly. They make use of a mix of cutting-edge tech combined with the human touch. This enables healthcare workers to check in with their senior patients. They also make it easier to offer non-medical care, such as attention and social interaction to seniors. Not only do these robots reduce the cost of care, but they also improve the lives of the people they are designed for. So, you can not only improve your living standard but also make your life easier.
Robotics have, slowly but surely, been taking over many industries. Of course, “robot” is a broad term, and it doesn’t just involve a metal R2-D2 style droid. Many bots don’t have a physical form at all but still manage to do a lot of human tasks on their own. For example, the chatbots used by Cox Cable customer service ensure customers always have access to support. In a similar way, bots can be used to create bots that remind people of medical appointments, medication doses, and even refill their prescriptions.