Health IT Pulse

May 25 2016   12:07PM GMT

Robots are examining patients, conducting surgical procedures

Kristen Lee Kristen Lee Profile: Kristen Lee

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robot
Robotics

Robots are beginning to invade healthcare. But don’t be alarmed, they’re here to help.

In fact, the use cases for robotics in healthcare range from telemedicine, to orthopedics, to neurology.

One notable application for robots is in the Lompoc Valley Medical Center’s emergency room.. The southern California’s medical center’s emergency room has a Remote Presence Virtual Independent Telemedicine Assistant, or RP-VITA robot, that helps examine admitted patients with neurological issues while physicians and nurses assess patients and get CT scans. The RP-VITA robot, called Dr. Robot by the staff, a story in the local newspaper said, is a 5-foot-tall mobile android that has a high definition video screen head that allows neurologists to remotely examine patients –by logging into the robot’s display via an encrypted connection — and help develop treatment plans.

The robot also allows neurologists to zoom in to see the patient’s pupils, read data on equipment in the patient’s room, and speak with the patient and doctors and nurses in the room, according to the newspaper story. All the information that is gathered about the patient using the robot and the caregivers in the room is ultimately integrated into the patient’s health record.

Furthermore, robots are having an impact when it comes to orthopedic surgery, especially given their reproducible surgical precision. A release from market research firm Radiant Insights said  orthopedic surgical robots are improving knee and hip replacement surgeries. When surgical robots are used, patients have less bleeding and post-operative pain, fewer readmissions and faster recovery.

And robots will not be leaving the healthcare space anytime soon. The release states that “roboticists” –people who have earned degrees in robotics—are increasingly being hired to link robots into existing IT systems. Furthermore, another report, from the Markets and Markets research firm, predicts that the medical robots market will increase from $4.2 billion in 2015 to $11.4 billion in 2020.

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