Robotics in Medicine: The Future of Healthcare
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Robotics in Medicine: The Future of Healthcare

By CIOReview | Thursday, March 11, 2021

Telepresence robots are increasingly being used in hospitals and nursing schools while telemedicine is most commonly used for in-home online consultations. Connection with patients, visual observation, and driving through a space to see equipment and displays are all possible with these platforms.

FREMONT, CA: The future of healthcare will include telenursing, which combines automation with telemedicine. Tele-nursing is the concept of a human nurse controlling a robot from a distance to handle most (or all) of the activities associated with patient care. To put it another way, the robot takes on the position of the nurse's eyes, ears, and body. Tele-nursing needs a growing number of components, including robotic manipulation, teleconferencing, augmented reality, health monitors, and low-latency connectivity networks. Nurses will be able to conduct a significant portion of patient treatment using robotics as telenursing capabilities improve, minimizing PPE use and improving social distancing.

Robotics in Medicine: How is the Sector Changing?

The movement toward the greater use of robots and telemedicine in healthcare is accelerating as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both innovations can help in social distancing, lowering the risk of healthcare-acquired infections among patients and healthcare workers. Autonomous robots have also been used in hospitals to clean medical rooms with ultraviolet light, switch specimen samples, supply food, medication, and supplies, and greet and advise patients.

Telepresence robots are increasingly being used in hospitals and nursing schools while telemedicine is most commonly used for in-home online consultations. Connection with patients, visual observation, and driving through a space to see equipment and displays are all possible with these platforms. Mobile telepresence robots with video displays and touchscreen interfaces have been adopted in Italy as part of the COVID-19 response to enable healthcare workers to check on patients without having to enter quarantine rooms physically.

Is it feasible for robotics in medicine to progress from the technical roles they currently perform to the degree of dependable and healthy general-purpose autonomy necessary to be responsible for patient treatment? In animated films, one might envision a robot that examines, handles, and even comforts patients. On the other hand, human healthcare practitioners are well-trained, adaptable, and possess advanced skills that set an incredibly high standard that a robotic device is impossible to clear anytime soon. Instead, telenursing seeks to integrate telemedicine's benefits (leveraging healthcare workers' specialist skills and face-to-face contact) with the benefits of robotics (social distancing and capabilities in dangerous environments) to provide the best possible results for patients and healthcare workers.