ROBOTICS IN HEALTHCARE
Future of healthcare!
Sure, robots today are taking over the world. They're used in manufacturing, aeronautics, military, and now they're creeping even into healthcare! Artificial Intelligence is the next generation reality and it is enhancing our lives with superior quality services but its much entry into the healthcare industry is often both frowned upon and appreciated.
This said lets look at some exciting present scenarios where robotics are used in healthcare that don't sound any less than a scene straight out of a sci-fi movie.
Pharmacists are burdened with tasks that could be eliminated by utilising the advancing robotics in healthcare. Heavy lifting, as always, is a big help, but a robot could process information much faster and much more accurately than humans. This way it could make more precise recommendations after sifting through the patient's available medical data. Pharma dispensers could work as an ATM does, so no matter time of day patients can get access to their prescriptions.
The origami robot, despite its size, is just as impressive as a super strong carrier one. When swallowed, the capsule containing it dissolves in the patient's stomach and unfolds itself. Controlled by a technician with the help of magnetic fields it can patch up wounds in the stomach lining or safely remove foreign items such as swallowed toys.
Hospital acquired infections (such as MRSA) are among the leading causes of death in the US. Xenex, a Texas based company produces a unique robot. It uses high intensity ultraviolet light to disinfect any space in a healthcare facility quickly and efficiently. The Xenex Robot is more effective in causing cellular damage to microorganisms than other devices designed for disinfection.
Body Assistance Robots
Riba or Robot for Interactive Body Assistance is somewhat similar to the TUG robot, however it is rather used at homes with care patients who need assistance. Its Japanese version, the Robear is shaped as a giant, gentle bear with a cartoonish head. They both can lift and move patients in and out of bed into a wheelchair, help patients to stand, and to turn them to prevent bed sores as many times as you want.
All of these sound very fascinating and are being used in hospitals with quite a success rate, in the near future it will not be surprising to find doctorless hospitals. Surgeons are already using robots in the operating theatre to assist with surgery. Currently, the surgeon remains in control with the machine being more of a slave than a master. As the machines improve, it will be possible for a trained technician to oversee the surgery and ultimately for the robot to be fully in charge.
Hospitals will be very different places in 20 years. Beds will be able to move autonomously transporting patients from the emergency room to the operating theatre, via X-ray if needed.
Your medical information, including medications, will be read from a chip under your skin or in your phone. No more waiting for medical records or chasing information when an unconscious patient presents to the emergency room.
But in midst of all these fascinating augmentations the real question remains- who is to be blamed when things go wrong?
Doctors in the near future are going to need many different skills than the doctors of today. An understanding of technology will be imperative. They will need to learn programming and computer skills well before the start of medical school. Programming will become the fourth literacy along with reading, writing (which may vanish) and arithmetic.
Perhaps the question is asked too soon or perhaps not.But nevertheless, in the very near future, amazing robots might come to healthcare to save our lives, too just like they did with Anakin Skywalker when he lost his legs in Star Wars- The Revenge of the Sith.