Robots are everywhere. While they may not always look like the ones from the movies, robots are now being using in many different industries, and their future looks bright. Robotic technology is changing the way manufacturing is done. It’s simplifying and automating certain tasks so that companies don’t have to rely on people for a number of repetitive tasks. Robots are also in healthcare, although this may not be widely known. While you shouldn’t be expecting a robot doctor any time soon, there are a few ways that this technology is changing and improving the healthcare sector.
Applications in Medicine
Although they may not always be referred to as robots, robotic medical assistants are being used in a number of ways to provide high-quality medical treatment. These highly intelligent machines can be used to monitor a patient’s vital statistics. Should the readings fall out of the required range, they can send an alert to the nurses and other medical professionals on duty to attend to the patient. These assistants also help with documentation and medical record-keeping because they can automatically input their readings into the patient electronic health record.
Other robotic applications include robotic carts. These can move along in the hospitals to carry supplies where those are needed. Robots also find important use in surgery and have proven to be useful and capable assistants to doctors and surgeons.
Robots are also finding their way into medical laboratories. Every day, thousands of samples are analyzed and many tests run. Robots can help with some of the tasks here including taking the samples, analyzing them, transporting them, and storing them. When a patient’s blood needs to be drawn, robotic assistants can accurately locate blood vessels and draw the blood without putting the patient through too much stress and strain as sometimes happens. In pharmacy dispensaries, robotics can also assist with the preparation of medications. In physical therapy, robotic setups can help paraplegics with movement and with some of their therapy exercises.
Robotic technologies also do some daily housekeeping tasks and routine medical care practices. They can help with cleaning and disinfecting operating rooms and patient areas. They can also transport linen and patient meals.
Advanced personal robotic assistants are also being explored, with many breakthroughs in this coming from Japan. Imagine a friendly robot aide that can respond to emergencies and understand human commands.
The Benefits of Robots in Healthcare
There are many other ways that robots are currently being used in medicine and are going to be used in the near future. Besides the novelty and excitement of these new technology tools, there are some real tangible benefits that this move is bringing.
Robots are experts at routine and repetitive tasks. Instead of having healthcare professionals handling these, these tasks can be given to robots. This gives healthcare workers more time to handle tasks that need that human touch and an application of experience and training. Robots are also helping to improve the safety of various medical procedures in addition to simplifying and cutting down the costs in the long-term.
While robots do not have the intuition and compassion that people do, they do have some unique skills and capabilities that allow them to complete certain tasks more efficiently. This is particularly the case when it comes to surgeries in confined spaces as well as in the transportation of chemicals.
Robots cannot fully replace people in healthcare, but they can definitely help a lot. Much of the more advanced robotic technology doesn’t come cheap so that barrier may be the biggest limitation to the full-scale use of medical robots and assistants in the healthcare sector.