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Robotics’ growing impact on the healthcare industry

Robotics, although still under the control of humans, are becoming a more frequent option in health care for assistance in surgeries and other medical treatments.

By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) March 14, 2020
Courtesy: CFE Media and Technology

If you or anyone you know has needed surgery recently, you may have been surprised to learn healthcare robotics was an option. A number of different surgeries now make use of robot assistance, but many people don’t know robotic surgeries aren’t a new concept. Even as far back as 1985, physicians had plans to use machines in healthcare.

Healthcare robotics have come a long way, but the robots are still very much under the control of humans. Doctors use robots for a steady hand and precise movements, but robots have yet to do the surgeries on their own. Do you think that will change in 2021? Will humans trust robots with their lives? Even if some won’t, here are some ways robots can help out.

Healthcare robotics improve human abilities

Surgeons can be a marvel to watch in the operating room. Even after hours of surgery, they can often make precise incisions, patch up wounds, and maintain uncompromised attention. But they’re not perfect. Healthcare robotics still have some advantages over their human counterparts. They don’t have emotions, never get tired, and you can’t distract them.

Healthcare robotics let human surgeons take more of a supervisory role. Many of the tools robots use are smaller than anything humans can control. After surgery, robotics continue to help. Exoskeletons provide therapy to paralyzed patients, and robotic limbs can offer them independence.

Robotics make diagnosis and treatment easier

Artificial intelligence can detect patterns in scans and samples physicians might miss. Machines can find correlations that even doctors and programmers didn’t know were there. Robots have shown remarkable accuracy that rivals even the best, most experienced doctors. After diagnosing a problem, robots can begin treatment immediately.

Healthcare robots have shown to be especially effective at developing and executing treatment plans. Robotic arms can integrate with knowledge libraries to suggest the best tool to use for the job during surgery. Simple bot-pills can perform an endoscopy in a far less invasive manner than traditional methods. The pill sends images as it travels through the digestive system and then is naturally eliminated from the body. All these capabilities significantly improve patient care.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online BlogRobotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner.

Robotic Industries Association (RIA)