Robots have been an integral part of healthcare for many years. They are already helping with operations or supporting processes in hospitals. But especially in the field of telemedicine, they can bring about groundbreaking changes.
One often reads of a lack of specialists, especially in rural areas. However, the number of nurses is also declining. The health care system needs a new way to continue to take optimal care of its patients. This is where robots come into play.
Medical treatment can be increasingly improved through the integration of advanced machines. Technological progress is making systems increasingly precise and powerful. Artificial intelligence and quantum leap development in robotics mean that robots are no longer only needed where simple, repetitive tasks are performed, they can also be a real asset in the field of medicine.
KUKA Medical Robotics -- The Future of Medicine (Source: KUKA)
Today’s robots have developed into ingenious helpers in the operating theatre who assist the surgeon during the operation by means of telesurgical procedures. But robots can also close the gaps in resource planning caused by a shortage of skilled personnel by enabling access to remote specialists via telecommunications. This telemedicine is particularly useful in rural hospitals, as digital technologies enable a seamless transition between analog and digital. This enables doctors in cities to interact with patients and make remote diagnoses.
Outdoor Robots -- Telemedicine as a Rural Opportunity
Companies like VGo and InTouch have developed robots that already serve as physician representatives and actively treat patients in remote clinics, community health centers, schools, cruise ships, sporting events, and even smaller hospitals.
The page “Medical Futurist” describes further application scenarios of robots in health care and telemedicine. Even if it goes much further, in my opinion these are the most important scenarios:
- Room disinfection: Robots can use UV light to sterilize rooms and beds in hospitals and thus reduce infections.
- Reception: In the near future, the further development of voice systems will enable the reception of a hospital to be staffed with robots that register patients and provide them with all the necessary information in several languages.
- Surgical assistance systems: Robotic arms can, with the help of a physician, perform basic surgical procedures.
- Telemedical caregivers: Robots can become the eyes and ears of a doctor and can also be used directly at the patient’s home as caregivers. The doctor only switches on when needed.
- Well-being of patients: About Social Robots I already reported, but exactly this kind of robotics can increase the well-being of patients in the medical field elementary.
In summary, it can be said that robots in nursing and as supporters of physicians have many application scenarios. They make it possible for doctors to be in different places and thus take action against the lack of specialists. In addition, tasks that could be dangerous for human nurses due to the risk of infection are performed by robots. Robotics, as the basic attitude here, will not fundamentally replace jobs, but rather serve as support to give doctors and nurses more time for what is essential -- the patients.