Robots have quickly become a mainstay in healthcare settings, from specialty areas such as surgery or radiology, to more general usage throughout hospitals.
Medical transportation robots travel through hospitals delivering medications, supplies, and meals directly to patients and staff members – also providing valuable efficiency insights for pharmacies.
1. Minimally Invasive Surgery
Minimally invasive surgeries offer less scarring and shorter recovery times for patients than traditional ones, providing increased precision, dexterity and visual clarity than ever before.
Surgeons performing minimally invasive surgery insert a thin tube called an endoscope through one or more incisions in order to visualize the area they’re operating on, before performing robotic arm procedures using images displayed from their endoscope on a screen.
Advanced robotic systems can magnify surgical sites to give surgeons a three-dimensional view of procedures, making navigation of difficult anatomical structures much simpler for doctors. Utilization of this technology can significantly enhance patient outcomes while supporting hospital capacity during pandemics; new policies that value these tools can boost investment and broaden their use across healthcare. Such policies include including surge plans in hospital surge plans for increased investment as well as understanding their value to society in general.
2. Robotic Exoskeletons
Robotic exoskeletons are externally worn motorized devices that assist individuals with impaired mobility to transition between sitting-to-standing and walking, offering auditory, vibration, and visual cues not available through traditional gait training strategies. FDA has approved these systems that offer specific feedback to clinicians and patients through auditory feedback as well as visual displays.
These devices provide more than physical benefits: they also improve psychological well-being, build self-confidence and help to reduce social isolation caused by mobility impairments. In addition, these aids also alleviate caregiver burden by decreasing how much effort is necessary for helping their patients participate in mobility activities.
As technology develops in therapy practices, it’s vital that therapists understand its use for their patients in order to provide them with more effective treatments plans and improve patient outcomes. When considering widespread robotic exoskeleton usage in manual labor jobs, 33% of Americans believe that its introduction would make working conditions better; only 4% disagreed and think it might make things worse.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Robotics have proven invaluable in healthcare settings for performing an array of healthcare-related tasks ranging from clearing plaque out of arteries to collecting tissue biopsies precisely and attacking cancerous tumors. Robots can even help perform more complicated lab tests and deliver medications directly where they’re needed in patients’ bodies.
However, there are several unique challenges associated with implementing robotic technology in hospitals. First of all, robotic technology may not meet all of the complex and uncertain needs of healthcare providers or patients; secondly, any data collected by robots poses an attractive target for hackers.
As new robotic technologies emerge, they offer solutions. Service robots are helping hospital staff streamline operations and allow nurses to focus more on patient care; mobile logistics robots replenish supply cabinets with medications; social robots encourage adherence to treatment regimens and help boost morale in long-term care environments;
4. Modular Robots
Researchers at PARC and elsewhere are conducting experiments with modular robots that can reconfigure themselves like cells in our bodies to take on different shapes and tasks. Healthcare applications of such robots could include crawling through pipes as worm-like forms; reconfiguring into something with spider-like legs for traversing uneven terrain; or becoming cars for transporting medical supplies or bed linens from storage rooms to laundry facilities.
Many of these systems are employed to reduce hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). Additionally, they can facilitate surgical procedures and connect remote patients with doctors for consultations. Furthermore, they perform tasks such as contactless sanitization to protect healthcare workers from becoming exposed to pathogens during COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. This task has become especially essential during that outbreak. These systems can transport medications and specimens around hospitals or transfer beds for patient mobility. Other robotic systems have also been utilized in healthcare, such as therapeutic exoskeleton robots and prosthetic robotic arms and legs to aid rehabilitation for stroke survivors, paralyzed individuals or those suffering traumatic brain injuries.