How robots are revolutionising healthcare

14th April 2023
Sheryl Miles

As National Robotics Week (RoboWeek) is coming to an end, Electronic Specifier takes a look at how utilising the power of robotics has the potential to revolutionise healthcare.

RoboWeek is a week designed to excite and inspire people of all ages to pursue a career in STEM. From engaging students and promoting the robotics industry, to celebrating the advancements of the technology – now is an exciting time to become a budding roboticist.

The use of robotics and AI in healthcare is becoming increasingly necessary as people are living longer, and physical and mental health care needs are increasing. But how can the healthcare system and the patients that it serves benefit from using robots? Here Electronic Specifier discusses how the technology is helping to address three areas of healthcare needs.

Surgical robots

One of the significant ways robots are helping healthcare is through surgical procedures. Robotic surgery, also called robot-assisted surgery, means a surgeon can perform minimally invasive surgeries (‘key-hole surgery’ – procedures performed through tiny holes) with more precision and accuracy than traditional surgeries. The advanced technology of surgical robots allows doctors to perform complex surgeries while minimising the risk of complications.

Caring robots

Robots are being used in patient care by aiding elderly patients and those with limited mobility. They can help a person with their daily activities such as eating, bathing, grooming, and monitoring vital signs. The technology is able to provide continuous care and support to a patient without overburdening healthcare providers.

However, robots aren’t just caring for the elderly, they are also being introduced as an aid for counselling children, as studies have found that children will open up to a small robot more than they would an adult. And now their value is also being recognised in helping people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by enabling them to learn to understand different emotions in a safe environment.

Sanitising robots

Robots have also been an important part of combatting the spread of the coronavirus during the COVID-19 pandemic. In some countries, robots are being used to disinfect hospitals and other public spaces to limit the spread of the virus by covering critical surfaces with the right amount of UV-C light to be able to kill viruses and bacteria. Robots are also being used to deliver food and medication to patients without human interaction.

As the technology advances further, we can expect more innovations in robotics to assist in various aspects of healthcare.

Five benefits of robots in healthcare

  1. Increased Efficiency: Robots can perform repetitive tasks such as distributing medication, monitoring vital signs, and conducting routine tests. This can free up healthcare professionals to focus on more complex tasks.
  2. Improved Patient Care: Robots can provide consistent and accurate care to patients, reducing the risk of human error. They can also provide round-the-clock monitoring and support, helping to improve patient outcomes.
  3. Reduced Costs: By automating certain tasks, healthcare providers can reduce labour costs and increase efficiency.
  4. Enhanced Safety: Robots can be used to transport hazardous materials or perform tasks in dangerous environments, reducing the risk of injury or exposure to harmful substances for healthcare workers.
  5. Access to Remote Areas: Robots can be used to provide healthcare services in remote or underserved areas where access to medical professionals is limited.

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