How AI And Robotics Are Making Healthcare Better
Macadamian Technologies | July 16, 2021 | 3 Min Read
The use of robots in healthcare isn’t something relegated solely to obscure films and TV shows. With continued digital transformation and the rise of digital health, we’re seeing robots and artificial intelligence (AI) become more useful in the medical space.
In the British TV series, Humans, robots are depicted as healthcare professionals offering care to the elderly right in the comfort of the patient’s own home.
The show illustrates a world where these machines live among us, pre-programmed to help humans live their healthiest lives.
These robots even keep all medical records of the patients they look after.
While we’re not there just yet in reality—and it’s a whole other question whether we want to be—here is how robots and AI have the potential to make healthcare better.
How AI Can Help With An Aging Population
Twenty-five percent of people in Europe and North America will be over the age of 65 by the year 2050, according to a McKinsey report. This means health systems are bracing for a demographic of patients with complex needs. And with complexity comes challenges. It requires a shift to health systems that are proactive and focused on long-term care management.
The report defines AI as, “the capability of a computer program to perform tasks or reasoning processes that we usually associate with intelligence in a human being.”
Based on this definition, AI could revolutionize healthcare and address the influx of elderly patients seeking care.
In using AI to help address the needs of elderly patients, AI could improve the lives of clinicians, too, allowing them to focus more on the patient while AI-driven machines do the rest. This can also help with retention in the medical space where we’ve seen burnout rise, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
How Robots Are Helping With Surgery
The use of robots in healthcare isn’t new. But the latest iterations of robots in surgeries are adding a new level of precision not seen before.
While doctors could pinpoint cancerous tumours on a CT scan or MRI, for example, robotic arms can cut out that tumor during a procedure with more precision than a surgeon’s hand.
By dissecting more accurately, robots are making surgical procedures less invasive. And this level of precision will continuously get better thanks to robots gaining intelligence through machine learning, which is the ability for systems to automatically learn and improve without being programmed to do so.
Robots Also Work Remotely
It’s not just people who are working remotely these days. Thanks to better and faster internet, robots are being used to conduct life-saving procedures from a distance.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Carnegie Mellon University joined forces in 2019 to develop a robotic trauma care system, which would help treat and stabilize soldiers injured in remote locations.
This technology isn’t only helpful to injured soldiers, but also to people who cannot access trauma care following natural disasters or those living in remote parts of the world without access to care.
It’s called Trauma Care in a Rucksack (TRACIR), a robotic system that fits into a backpack, which is then delivered via drone to the injured individual. TRACIR unfolds into a stretcher that uses robots to help administer fluid, blood and drugs to stabilize the patient.
As you can see, robots and AI continue to revolutionize healthcare. As we move forward, we’ll see even greater potential for robots and AI to advance the medical field.
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