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Technology Advisor - Robotics in health care

July 12, 2017
From the July 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

By Bipin Thomas

In previous columns, I introduced the emerging relevance of artificial intelligence in the health care industry. This article is a continuation, which outlines specific applications of medical robotics in health care.

Robotic assistance to nurses and surgeons
Medical robots can assist with delivering care directly to the patients. During a hospital stay, patients interact with nurses the most. They draw blood, check your vital signs, check on your condition and take care of your hygiene, if needed. They are often overwhelmed by physically and mentally daunting tasks, and the result is often an unpleasant experience for everyone involved.

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Robotic nurses will help carry this burden in the future. They are designed to be able to carry out repetitive tasks. This way, the staff has more energy to deal with issues that require human decision-making skills and empathy. Certain robots can even take your blood sample.

Surgery is an unpleasant experience, at best.

The waiting lists can be long, depending on available manpower and resources. Robotic-assisted surgery helps alleviate the problem. It has been used in a wide variety of fields from head and neck to urologic surgery. The surgeon is in complete control of the system at all times. However, as the machine has greater reach and flexibility, smaller incisions made with more precision are enough to access the problem areas.

Robotic assistance for a better life
Robotics in health care is so much more than drawing blood.

With a remote controlled robot, caretakers can interact with their patients, check on their living conditions and the need for further appointments. This would help efficiency a great deal by eliminating the time-consuming home visits.

Companies producing and the ones maintaining the system will have to make great efforts to alleviate privacy concerns. As with every such device, it must be near impossible to access for non-authorized personnel. With the proper safeguards in place, these robots can greatly improve the lives of caretakers and patients alike.

Telemedicine assistance is key to access timely and quality health care from anywhere and anytime.

Chances are you have been in a situation where, if an accident were to happen, medical professionals would not have been able to reach you in time. To some of us in the developed world, it’s a rare occurrence.

Billions of people still live outside of the reach of conventional emergency services. With telemedicine services, patients in remote areas have access to high-quality emergency consultations for stroke, cardiovascular and burn services. On the patient’s side, it can be accessed on a tablet or personal computer, and clinicians can also use the same type of devices as best suit their needs.

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