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The Evolution of Medical Robotics

Lorna is a qualified therapist and writer with an interest in alternative and holistic approaches to health.

When you can't make an appointment...

Many of us are aware of how frustrating it can be when you are feeling unwell and yet cannot make an appointment with your doctor for at least two weeks. This frustration has also found its way into our hospital corridors where waiting times for those conditions which are not considered urgent can be up to four hours – on a good day. With hospital staff overworked and hospitals themselves understaffed, very often it is the patients who suffer the most. If robotics were to handle the more time-consuming, repetitive tasks that create such delays within the healthcare system, nurses and doctors would be more able to deal with those issues which require human interaction.

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Types of Robotics

Riba the Bear-Shaped Robot

This Robot for Interactive Body Assistance was invented to make up for the shortage of carers in Hospitals and Care Homes. Shaped like a giant bear with a funny cartoon head it is used to carry out those strenuous jobs, such as moving or lifting patients out of bed. For many patients who are bed-ridden resulting in bed sores, this Robot can turn them to prevent this problem as many times as is necessary. It will also solve the problem of staff developing back injuries due to heavy lifting cutting down on sick leave.

Veebot the Robot who Draws Blood in Less than a Minute

For many of us the thought of giving blood or having blood drawn for testing can be a real ordeal. If an appropriate vein cannot be found the whole experience can be extremely unpleasant. Introducing Veebot , who not only identifies the appropriate vein with approximately 83% accuracy; which is similar to an experienced human phlebotomist, but completes the process in one minute.

Paro the Stress Reducing Robot for Patients

This cuddly animal-shaped Robot is given to those patients in Hospital and Care Homes who are in pain or feeling lonely. Animal Therapy is widely used to reduce the feelings of stress caused by pain or feelings of loneliness, however, not every medical facility or Care Home allows the use of real animals. Therefore, Paro the baby harp seal covered with artificial fur, allows patients to experience the therapeutic benefits of a real animal whenever they need to.

Robotic Nurses

Providing empathetic care is always a priority for those people who require a hospital stay. Today’s nurses are very often overwhelmed by the physical and mental challenges the job brings, with most of their valuable time dominated by repetitive tasks. Robotic nurses, designed specifically to take over these more mundane jobs, will allow nurses to provide that much needed empathetic care that is critical to the well-being of the patient.

Robotic Surgeons

At present, many people have to wait years for their non-urgent surgical procedures. This is not only demanding on their physical health but it also adversely affects their mental state and well-being. One way of navigating this problem is through the use of robotic medical machinery. Designed to have greater flexibility and reach than its human counterpart, these machines can perform precise surgeries with a quicker turnaround rate at a fraction of the cost. Their use has proved invaluable in alleviating the issue of long waiting lists which are all too often dependent on available manpower and resources.

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The Benefits

Hospital Acquired Infections

Infections are among the leading causes of death for patients recovering in hospital. Such is their severity, 1 in every 25 patients will contract a hospital infection and 1 in 9 will die, according to statistics. Created as a way to counteract the risk of patients contracting these infections, the Xenex Robot was produced. This unique machine effectively treats the microorganisms found in Hospitals and responsible for these infections, by causing them cellular damage; by doing so, their number is reduced, less staff are required to disinfect the hospital and patients can be treated in a safer environment. It’s a fact that those hospitals who use the Xenex Robot have reported a 70% drop in Hospital Acquired Infections.

The Beneficial Uses of Exoskeletons

No longer relegated to video games or movies, exoskeletons really come into their own in the world of medical technology. Used in the rehabilitation of spinal cord injury patients, or for those who have suffered a stroke, these devices can help people begin to walk again. Unfortunately, at present, they are extremely costly to produce however as these technological advances become more mainstream, the healthcare system is likely to cover them under your regular medical insurance.

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In order to take full advantage of the benefits that robotics in healthcare can bring, we need to be kept up-to-date with the on-going discoveries that science is making in this field. Mainstream media also has an important role to play by reporting the incredible results which are being achieved with the use of robotics, normalising their use within modern medicine. Change takes time and requires a greater understanding of a future where we work alongside robotics whose crucial role cannot be underestimated.

Surgical Robotics sales are expected to double by 2020.

© 2018 Lorna Lamon

Comments

Lorna Lamon (author) on October 19, 2020:

Hi Peggy, I think it's wonderful for those in nursing homes or even children in hospital to have a purring pet. I have also seen real dogs in aged care homes, whose owners kindly bring them in for the residents to pet. It has the most calming effect. Unfortunately, due to Covid this has now been banned. Animals, come into our lives in so many special and treasured ways (even robotic ones). Thank you for the visit Peggy and your insightful comments. Always a pleasure.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 19, 2020:

Hi Lorna,

I think that a robotic cat that purrs in a nursing home environment is genius! A cuddly small dog would be equally welcomed for those who love dogs. I wonder how furry these robots could be? Keeping them sanitary and disinfected might be a consideration especially during a pandemic.

Lorna Lamon (author) on October 15, 2020:

I think it will be the future Denise, although like you I would be a little wary of a robotic surgeon. Thank you for commenting and take care.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on October 14, 2020:

I like the possibilities. Drawing blood sounds like it could work out. The phlebotomists I see have trouble finding the vein and constantly have to poke around in my hand to find a vein. I'm just not sure I would trust a robotic surgeon.

Blessings,

Denise

Lorna Lamon (author) on September 18, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

I love the idea of robotics and have just discovered that one of the Care Homes that I had been visiting now has a little robotic cat that purrs. The resident's have been missing visits from loved ones and this little critter soothes them. I think I need one. It is getting harder to leave comments on niche sites at the moment, perhaps they are short-staffed as my work takes a few days to be published. Such is life at the moment. Hope all is well with you, and I will be making your wonderful sauce as a topping for veggie burger's. Can't wait.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 18, 2020:

Hi Lorna,

The future is exciting with regard to robotics. Thanks for your comment on my most recent post. It is getting harder and harder to be able to leave comments on any niche site posts unless catching them right after they are posted and before they get transferred to the niche sites. I really hope that they enable that feature soon.

Lorna Lamon (author) on July 16, 2020:

They certainly have their place Peggy especially where hospitals are concerned. Just imagine how efficient a robot would be in disinfecting various areas of hospitals. In Japan most people have robotics in their homes. I have to admit I'm excited by the prospect. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 16, 2020:

This field of robotics and what can be accomplished in using them will inevitably change the future in medicine as well as other areas. Thanks for introducing me to some new concepts which were new to me. I did not know, for example, that some robots could take the place of phlebotomists. Amazing!

Lorna Lamon (author) on August 06, 2019:

Thank you for commenting Osocox I'm glad you found this article interesting.

osocox from Cairo - Egypt on August 06, 2019:

Very interesting and useful article. Thank you

Lorna Lamon (author) on July 25, 2019:

I think medical Robotics have a multitude of uses and will definitely become a fixture in the future. Many thanks for commenting Denise.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on July 24, 2019:

It is something that's been on the horizon for a long time but with the long waiting times and sky-rocketing costs, I think it's a good idea.

Blessings,

Denise

Lorna Lamon (author) on November 07, 2018:

I have exactly the same issue, Liz. Having the help of a robot would do wonders for the NHS. Now we just have to think of a good name for it. ;)

Liz Westwood from UK on November 07, 2018:

In our household we have recently been having issues getting doctors' appointments as the health service in the UK struggles to keep up with demand. So your article definitely registered with me.