Over the last two decades technology has exploded, merging into every aspect of our lives; the healthcare sector is no exception. Among the most disruptive innovations there are healthcare robots, which fall within the scope of health robotics.
Healthcare robots improve the quality of care and help health professionals perform complex medical tasks. Consider that, as early as 2021, the global health robotics market was worth 10 billion dollars; today, it is expected to grow at an annual rate of 22.3%, reaching 43 billion dollars by 2028.
In the article, we will explore the wonders of healthcare robotics, show you how it is revolutionising patient care, and give you some examples. Read on.
Table of contents
What is health robotics in brief
Health robotics means ‘the use of robots in medical and healthcare practices’, with a very specific aim: to reduce human error and improve the quality of treatments provided.
6 application areas
Health robotics is applied in 6 areas. Let’s look at them one by one. Scroll down.
1. Cleaning and disinfection
Many robots use ultraviolet (UV) radiation for cleaning and disinfection. This is ‘non-contact’ cleaning, which is faster than other manual methods such as wiping with a cloth. Cleaning staff risk fewer infections with this method.
2. Security and monitoring
Health robotics for safety and monitoring is still under development; it is mostly used in nursing homes and hospitals.
In this area, robots use artificial intelligence (AI) to measure vital signs, such as temperature, respiration, pulse and blood oxygen levels.
In another case, it involves the use of robot dogs, equipped with medical instruments. They reach the patient, take the required measurements and report the results to the “field-base”.
Health robotics in surgery offers unrivalled precision, enabling minimally invasive operations and reduced recovery times for the sick.
Robot surgeons work in tandem with human specialists and offer them practical advice. For example, the robot Vicarious Surgical consists of cameras, a console and small humanoid arms for precise and complex operations. Equipped with 28 sensors per arm, Vicarious Surgical mimics the surgeon’s movements, displaying impressive rotational capabilities. Not dissimilar, the Da Vinci robot is used in urology, gynaecology, cardiology and general medicine.
Robotic prostheses replace or supplement a missing or damaged body part with the help of sensors, actuators and algorithms that analyse and interpetrate neurochemical signals transmitted from the brain.
An example of a well-known robotic prosthesis is the bionic arm by Open Bionics, inspired by characters from films and video games, such as Iron Man, Star Wars and Frozen. The arm produced by Open Bionics has an adaptive grip.
Health robotics, in the field of rehabilitation, uses electrical stimulation to facilitate the recovery of motor skills and improve coordination and balance.
In this case, the Lokomat robot supports those suffering from neurological or orthopaedic disorders in walking. Lokomat adjusts speed, endurance and degree of assistance according to the needs of the resident and also offers motivational therapy in virtual reality (VR).
6. Training medical staff
This brings us to the 6th point, that of training medical staff. Robots can simulate realistic clinical situations, as well as the conditions, reactions and responses of humans. This allows healthcare workers to acquire new skills.
Gaumard’s robot Hal, for example: it simulates emotions, talks, cries, coughs and bleeds like a real patient.
Health robotics benefits
Health robotics guarantees:
Despite the advantages we have just seen, healthcare robotics will face a few challenges. The main one will be its integration within healthcare systems that are already complex and often reticent to change. Ethical issues and concerns over privacy and data security also remain.
Health robotics: the revolution continues. Choose IPPOCRATE AS for your project
The potential to improve patient care and treatment through health robotics is there and we can expect healthcare robots to transform the world of healthcare in the future.
If you want to develop a health robotics project or want to draw on funding that will allow you to do so, contact us by filling out the contact form below or call the number +390954683879.
IPPOCRATE is a software house specialized in research and development (R&D) of m-health and e-health solutions. We create, every day, new technologies to support public and private healthcare.
The company, from the well-known JO Group cluster, is involved in Italian and European consortia and draws on resources from the European Union, Ministries and Regions. Contact us.