Robotics – A Shifting Paradigm in Healthcare
In the future, when you enter into a hospital, you will see the robots roaming around the halls assisting patients, doctors or nurses. Before you raise concerns about robots treating humans, let us understand how valuable is the application of robots in healthcare.
A robot, in simple terms, is a machine instilled with human intelligence and is programmed to perform all the cognitive functions of humans. It is beneficial in hospitals as robots show no prejudice in helping patients with severe medical conditions. Here, in this article, you will know about how the presence of robots in the medical environment can transform healthcare.
Bringing accuracy in surgeries
There will be situations where you will have to wait for a doctor to get the surgery done. But in emergency cases, you can’t afford to wait for such a long period. In these incidents, robots can take the lead as a doctor and perform the necessary surgery, provided it is programmed with sufficient knowledge.
Robots, as the machines have the highest precision, complete control, and greater flexibility to operate on patients. It is one of the applications of robots in healthcare that is gaining encouragement globally.
Taking the role of a nurse
It is not a surprise that patients interact with nurses more than doctors. Periodically, nurses check your vitals, do required injections, make you take certain pills, etc. For days they have to the same task repeatedly, which not only overwhelms them but also tires them.
With the invention of robots in healthcare, the role of the nurses can be replaced easily as they are programmed to do repeated tasks. With the machines occupied with the routine tasks, nurses can be put at a place where human’s decision-making skills and empathy are required.
Interesting fact: some robots can even take your blood sample.
Wellbeing for patients
This point is well-discussed in the article ‘5 ways AI is changing healthcare.’ Please do refer to it. As mentioned there, the robots can assist patients by reminding them of daily medication, periodic appointments, and checking on their living conditions.
But there are certain challenges in designing robots like these. As they have to be programmed with a database consisting of personal and sensitive information about patients’ medical life, they have to be developed with unbreakable security. Moreover, you have to educate people to the extent that they can trust machines handling their medication.
This is the role of robotics in healthcare which has a greater scope for research and development in the future.
Providing medical assistance in remote areas
Imagine a situation where an accident has happened with no hospital or a doctor nearby. But with robotics, it’s possible to get the medical attention even in the most remote areas.
Called as Telepresence, surgeons or physicians can contact you via the robots, and handle the situation by either answering or guiding through a necessary medical procedure. This is the process where robots must be equipped with capabilities like finding their way to the ER (Emergency Rooms) and highly detailed cameras for picture quality.
These robots are used for highly emergency cases like heart strokes, cardiovascular conditions, etc.
Disinfecting the hospital environment
It’s imperative that hospitals have to be extremely hygienic. With the dangerous outbreaks like Ebola, the hospitals’ inside and outside premises have to be disinfected frequently.
Nowadays, the primary disinfectants used are UV light and hydrogen peroxide vapors. Instead of this, you can use robots that do the cleaning of bacteria and viruses, both quickly and efficiently. It is an effective application of robots in healthcare as it decreases the workload of the hospital cleaning staff and helps in creating a hygienic environment in hospitals.
Do you know robots come in all sizes and shapes, even in the form of a capsule? When you swallow these capsules, a robot unfolds from it and repairs the damages wherever needed. It is controlled by a technician outside with the help of magnetic fields and is also used for removing any foreign objects like toys.
This is also one of the fields of robotics which has significant research and development. For instance, these microbots can travel along with the bodily fluids and can destroy the bacteria. Moreover, they perform much better compared to the medication we have right now. Though we have only theories now, you can hope that it could be a reality in the future.
A helping hand to the paramedics
One of the good encouragements of the role of robotics in healthcare is that they can be a great help to the pharmacists. Robots can assist them in carrying heavy loads of medicine boxes and also help them in organizing fast. Moreover, as robots accurately give medicines, there will be no chance of human errors.
On the other side, you may think these robots will risk the jobs of pharmacists, but they cannot. Instead, these people can make healthcare strong by conducting health awareness campaigns that educate normal people of certain preventative measures of the diseases. You can spend valuable time in spreading awareness and even get incentives for it.
Robots can act as companions to the mentally challenged people and help them in decreasing the feeling of loneliness. Along with assisting you in your medication, you can have long discussions with them as these are equipped with touch sensors, microphones, and cameras.
In a nutshell, the role of robotics in healthcare can be little intimidating, but with good understanding and educating the people about the robotics, one can hope there’s a wide scope of seeing robots amidst the humans. With the amount of research and development happening in the field of AI and robotics, we can expect to see several robots, not only in healthcare but also in other industries as well.
Hope this article has made you aware of the greatness of the robotics in healthcare. If you have any doubts or would like to add to this, comment your views.