The Future of Robots in Healthcare

Robots that are used in healthcare are helping medical practitioners in a plethora of ways including lowering costs, saving time and shortening patient recovery times. However, patients may not be ready for them. According to research on human perceptions of automated healthcare, many people are cautious of getting their health checked or catered to by an automated system. The good thing though is that they can adjust to the idea, more so if it saves them both time and money.

Medical practices and hospitals alike have already started using a fair amount of automation. One hospital in San Francisco is a good example, they use delivery robots the size of a mini fridge to move around the wards taking food to patients, delivering medicine and also moving medical equipment and specimens to the laboratory. Some hospitals are using delivery robots to open remote controlled doors as well as use elevators to get and the establishment.

Robots in surgery

Health care robotics also help in performing more intricate tasks such as surgery. Their participation ranges from autonomously performing an entire procedure to simple tasks such as stabilizing a surgeon’s tools. The most popular robotic surgery system allows a surgeon to operate full size using an ergonomically friendly equipment as a remote control which is then used to direct very tiny instruments on what to do inside the body of a patient. This is often done through extremely small incisions.

 As caregivers

With a rise in the world’s aging population, there is an increased demand for assistance with medical tasks, daily chores and checking up the safety and wellbeing of older patients.  For this reason, robotic systems are also starting to get used in serving caregivers, especially the elderly. Many of the caregiving jobs are tedious and often thankless with la low paying income. However, robots can assist with tasks as diverse as helping the elderly get out of bed, cleaning as well as other daily needs.

Additionally, a health care robot can also provide companionship thus helping to reduce the isolation that many old people often feel. According to one study done, it showed that a robotic companion was more successful in helping patients with dementia communicate with their families when compared to regular plush toy.

Are robots in hospitals yet?

One crucial thing to remember is that even though robots can perform a variety of complex functions as well as mimic some emotions, they are yet to learn how to fully process social and emotional tasks. In that sense, human labor is not obsolete yet.  However, the fact of the mater remains that most patients still want to be treated by an actual doctor, especially if they are going to receive negative news.

How humans feel about health care robots

Robotic systems in healthcare can do a lot even though most people are still wary of them in those new roles. A plethora of things depend on how easy it is to interact with them as well as the patient’s views on new technology and the fears they have about an upcoming medical procedure.

Research shows that a people would be more receptive to robots if they looked human-like but not too similar to a real person. This is because they may find the machine creepy and unsettling and may discourage them from interacting and even trusting the medical robot. Invasiveness of the surgery is another factor that patients will consider before letting a robotic machine treat them. The more invasive the procedure the less likely they will to accept.

If you find yourself with the option of getting a robotic surgery, you don’t need to be upset or anxious. Simply have a discussion with your doctor and have the whole procedure explained as well as the differences in price because there are high chances that the robotic system might be cheaper.

More importantly, ensure that you fully understand all the risks and that the health care service you are being given is of the highest quality.

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