While still a developing technology, Robotics in healthcare applications offer a way to control costs while potentially providing better care. Here are some of the most promising robotics in healthcare applications:
Roving Robots in Emergency Rooms
One factor in providing better emergency room care is having specialists on hand to evaluate patients. InTouch Healthcare's "Dr. Robot" is a telepresence robot that can allow specialists to assist on-site health workers remotely. Dr. Robot can:
- Navigate an E.R.;
- Review records and examine the patient with special cameras;
- Connect with an on-call remote neurologist who can converse with the patient.
Robot Surgical Assistants
Another important robotic development, surgical robots, are currently being used frequently for prostate surgery and are beginning to be used for other general surgeries. Robotic-assisted surgical systems like the Da Vinci use robotic arms with tiny surgical instruments that are controlled by surgeons - potentially allowing for expert surgeons to operate remotely from anywhere in the world.
Other advantages are:
- Minimally invasive surgery with 5-6 small dime-sized incisions;
- More controlled and precise surgical manipulation;
- Magnification provides better vision for the surgeon.
- Shorter hospital stays for recovery.
Microscopic robots, called nanorobots, are still an emerging scientific field. Potentially, nanorobots could be sent inside the body to treat infections, Type 1 diabetes, and even cancer. Because these robots are smaller than blood, they could get through the "blood-brain barrier."
Robots Assisting the Disabled
Allowing the differently-abled more independence is the goal of robotic inventions for those with disabilities. These devices can:
- Help someone to do personal care functions like dress, shave, scratch, and eat by themselves;
- Assist in picking things up or do household chores;
- Help someone to be ambulatory.
Robotics Could Be the Future of Healthcare
The expert consensus is that robots will soon be increasingly used in hospitals and doctor's offices to assist healthcare professionals in providing the best care for their patients.