In today’s rapidly advancing world, technology is transforming every aspect of our lives, including the healthcare sector. One such technological marvel making significant strides is the use of robots in the medical field. Since their humble introduction in the 1980s, these mechanical wonders have changed the healthcare industry, enabling professionals to provide enhanced, efficient, and more precise patient care.
So, you may wonder, how are robots used in the medical field? Well, the applications are vast, and the benefits are undeniable. From surgical interventions to patient care and rehabilitation, robots are being employed in various capacities to augment the capabilities of human healthcare providers. This blog will explore the world of robots in healthcare, a glimpse into the past, then dive deeper into specific applications, advancements in technology, and the influence of artificial intelligence. Join us on this enlightening journey as we unravel the immense possibilities that robots bring to the realm of healthcare and how they are transforming the medical field for the better.
Table of Contents
Robotics evolution in healthcare
Check out the infographic for a quick look at the past, present, and future of robots in the medical world.
(he global market for medical robots is anticipated to achieve a valuation of $12.7 billion by 2025, with hospitals maintaining the dominant market position in the year 2020
The first surgical robot in 1985, where computed tomography was used in guiding the robot as it inserted a needle into the brain for biopsy.
Da Vinci Surgical System:
The da Vinci Surgical System was introduced around the 2000s and was equipped with an enhanced 3D high-definition vision system and exceptionally precise instruments capable of bending and rotating beyond the capabilities of the human hand.
Although the development of Exoskeletons started around 1965, these robots began entering the market around 2001.This robot assists paralyzed individuals in standing and walking.
This cleaning robot proved highly effective in hospitals for cleaning germs as it caused cellular damage to microorganisms.
Pepper, social companion robot:
Social companion robots like Pepper are being introduced in the care centers to assist older people in managing their daily chores and accompanying them.
Types of robots used in hospitals presently
Assist with minimally invasive surgeries and orthopedic operating procedures.
Modular robots for rehabilitation:
From prosthetic limbs to exoskeleton robots, these robots assist in rehabilitation efforts.
Assist healthcare professionals to complete routine tasks or connect remote patients to doctors.
Placed at the front-desk operations in the healthcare facility to aid in registration, interact with visitors, and serve as an information guide.
The promise of robots in the future
- Perform lab tests without human supervision
- Deliver timely reminders for appointments, medication, etc.
- Collect information, understand symptoms, and refer to doctors
- Deliver targeted medications
- Reduce doctors’ burden by offering preliminary support to minor issues
The role of robots in healthcare today
Progress in robotics has ushered in a transformative era across diverse medical specialties, seamlessly automating an expanding array of procedures and bestowing undeniable advantages upon healthcare practitioners and patients alike.
Applications of robots
The impact of robotics in healthcare is quite widespread in today’s world. Robots play various roles in the healthcare sector, revolutionizing the industry and improving patient care. Here are examples of how robots are used in the medical field and some of the tasks these mechanical marvels take care of.
- Handling routine administrative and logistical tasks
- Facilitating the transportation and supply of food.
- Conducting cleaning and disinfection operations.
- Managing the storage and distribution of medicines.
- Providing aid during surgical procedures.
- Offering tele-assistance services.
Handling routine administrative and logistical tasks
Purpose: The purpose of using such robots in the healthcare facility is to alleviate the workload of healthcare professionals during busy hours. This can allow nurses and other healthcare personnel to dedicate their valuable time to essential duties like tending to the ill and administering medical care.
Tasks: Robots like Pepper are used for tasks like appointment scheduling, patient registration, data entry, conducting pre-screening, and providing information about patients’ vitals, reducing the burden on administrative staff and streamlining operations.
Example of the robot used: Pepper, the humanoid robot
Facilitating the transportation and supply of food
Purpose: Food delivery robots in hospitals are crucial in enhancing the efficiency and quality of patient care. These robots are designed to securely transport meals and medications to different wards and rooms with little human supervision. Moreover, they are vital in maintaining infection control measures by minimizing unnecessary human contact, particularly in sensitive healthcare environments.
Tasks: Medical robots can assist in delivering meals and snacks to patients in a healthcare facility. These robots ensure timely and efficient delivery, freeing up staff to focus on other patient care tasks.
Example of the robot used: BellaBot, KettyBot
Conducting cleaning and disinfection operations
Purpose: Cleaning robots equipped with UV-c lights can help disinfect hospital surfaces, reducing the risk of infections and maintaining a safer environment.
Tasks: Contamination detection, real-time monitoring,cleaning every inch of a hospital floor with precision and efficiency, and destroying microorganisms on the floor.
Example of the robot used: Xenex
Managing the storage and distribution of medicines
Purpose: Robots in pharmacies and hospitals can automate the storage and retrieval of medications for a large number of SKUs, ensuring accurate and timely dispensing.
Tasks: Efficient picking, speed up medicine delivery, optimize storage space by compactly arranging medicine, and more.
Example of the robot used: Delta robot
Providing aid during surgical procedures
Purpose: Surgical robots can enhance existing surgical procedures through AI and depth cameras.
Tasks: Surgical robots are used to assist surgeons during complex procedures. These robots offer precision, smaller incisions, and enhanced agility, leading to improved patient outcomes.
Example of the robot used: The da Vinci Surgical System
Offering tele-assistance services
Purpose: Robots can be used to facilitate telemedicine services by acting as a physical presence at the patient’s location. They are handy for elderly patients to reduce their commuting hassle and aid healthcare professionals in monitoring and interacting with patients remotely.
Tasks: A telehealth robot equipped with a video conferencing capability, allowing doctors to examine patients and provide healthcare advice in real-time remotely.
Example of the robot used: Double 3
Advantages of robots in the medical field
Integrating robots into the healthcare sector yields a multitude of benefits.
By taking on monotonous, repetitive, and administrative tasks, robots liberate valuable time for healthcare workers to focus on more critical, non-automated responsibilities. This not only boosts overall productivity but also enhances the quality of care provided.
Improve surgery outcomes
Moreover, in surgical settings, robots offer significant advantages. They provide surgeons with improved ergonomics and comfort, reducing fatigue levels. Consequently, surgeons can handle higher procedural volumes effectively. Additionally, robots are pivotal in eliminating human error, particularly in high-risk procedures, ultimately contributing to improved patient outcomes.
Enhance patient care
Furthermore, robotics in healthcare facilitates the streamlining of operations. It reduces the need for time-consuming visits and shortens the duration of surgeries, leading to more efficient use of resources and improved patient flow. The capability to create personalized treatments is another invaluable asset, ensuring that patients receive tailored care based on their unique needs and circumstances. Overall, the integration of robotics in the healthcare sector stands as a transformative force, significantly elevating the standards of care delivery and patient outcomes.
Robotics in healthcare have come a long way
From the time it started to how are robots used in the medical field today, a lot of water has flowed through the sea. Mechanical robots paved their way into surgical settings in 1980. However, the technology fully developed around the 1990s.
Then comes the use of robots to maintain hospital hygiene. Since 1878, the antimicrobial capabilities of UV-C rays have been recognized, sterilizing bacteria using this form of light. By 1910, ultraviolet light was already being applied to purify drinking water. From the early 1930s onward, commercially accessible mercury vapor lamps with germicidal light properties became available.
Since the early 1970s, the practice of employing algorithms, along with knowledge bases, pattern-matching, and probability theory, has been used for medical diagnosis. Over time, these methods have been refined through data mining, enhancing the quality of the existing knowledge base.
What holds in the future for robotics in healthcare
The evolving field of robotics holds the potential to revolutionize healthcare. Imagine robots conducting lab tests autonomously, clearing arterial plaque, performing tissue biopsies, and even targeting cancerous tumors. In the foreseeable future, they may also administer precise medication, attend to minor patient concerns, and engage in meaningful conversations with patients about their symptoms. This realm of possibilities showcases the profound impact that robotics could have on the future of healthcare.
In the end
With each newly developed or enhanced robotic system, experts and enthusiasts in robotics envision numerous prospects for future expansion. Unlocking the complete potential of robotics in healthcare requires medical practitioners to stay abreast of the latest advancements in the field and actively seek collaborations with robotics companies like PROVEN Robotics. Embracing these opportunities not only promises to enhance efficiency and save lives through medical robotics but also grants healthcare professionals a central role in the captivating journey of crafting highly sophisticated robotic systems.