Medical robots are helping healthcare professionals in providing more intelligent and comprehensive care to their patients. Healing can be a long and emotionally draining process, especially when nurses and healthcare teams are stretched thin.
Medical robots can assist in filling gaps and transforming the healing process for both patients and caregivers. Over the last few years, incredible advances have been made that allow medical robots to revolutionize healthcare.
Every day, nurses must carry out a variety of basic tasks. However, the sheer volume of this type of task is both physically and emotionally challenging for nurses. Several of these routine tasks can now be performed by medical robots.
A venipuncture robot, for example, can generate a 3D image of a patient’s arm to show a nurse exactly where their vein is, making blood collection much easier and faster. This also improves the patient experience, as many people find needles painful and even frightening.
Nursing robots can also monitor patient vitals and assist with tasks such as lifting and transferring patients. Assigning a robot to the task saves nurses a significant amount of time, allowing them to provide better care.
Sanitation and disinfection are ideal applications for medical robots. This is a simple and monotonous task that requires little skill. Maintenance workers can focus on more important tasks such as repairs or cleaning up spills or messes by assigning a UV disinfection robot to clean duty.
UV disinfection robots have replaced hand sanitizers in hospitals because they can kill bacteria, germs, and viruses on surfaces simply by shining a UV beam over them. The robot navigates rooms and hallways autonomously, disinfecting any surface that its rays touch.
Exoskeletons are not the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “robot,” but they’re completely changing the healing process.
This is especially true for patients who are recovering from injuries that necessitate extensive physical therapy. Robotic exoskeletons function as an external set of bones and muscles that use robotics to retrain the body to move properly. These exoskeletons could even help disabled people regain mobility.
This type of medical robot can not only help patients physically, but it can also change their lives emotionally. Getting outside and moving around has been shown to be extremely beneficial to the healing process, resulting in less stress and faster recovery times.
Robots have been found to be surprisingly effective at providing patients with emotional support. Sometimes all it takes is having someone to talk to or sit with. A great example of a robotic companion at work is “Stevie,” a robot developed by Trinity College Dublin researchers.
Stevie was tested in 2019 in an eldercare facility that housed 300 residents at the time. Residents could converse with the robot and even play games with it. The residents genuinely enjoyed spending time with Stevie, even inviting him to a karaoke night, according to the research team.
Stevie is not just for chatting and playing cards, though. While the robot is relaxing with residents, it is also constantly monitoring them for signs of medical distress. It can recognize voice commands like “help me” and contact nursing or medical staff in an emergency.
AI Doctors and Coaches
Some of the best medical robots are actually software. AI doctors and coaches have become more common in recent years as telemedicine has gained popularity.
For example, AI algorithms are assisting doctors in detecting and diagnosing conditions earlier and more accurately. An AI can even design a completely unique and personalized treatment plan that is meticulously tailored to a patient’s specific requirements. While this type of AI is still being developed and refined, it has the potential to provide patients with the most accurate diagnoses and treatment plans.
AI is already transforming the healing process in other ways, though. A perfect example of this is the AI coaches found in virtual reality fitness games. One of the most popular VR fitness games available today is “Supernatural,” which gets players moving with the help of an AI coach created using recordings of real trainers. Gamifying the recovery process with VR is a great way to motivate patients and improve positivity.
With games like “Supernatural,” hospital patients can exercise in incredible locations, like the top of a mountain or the edge of a waterfall, all from the safety of their hospital room.
- Healing better with technology
Medical robots are making the healing process faster, safer, and smarter, for caretakers and patients alike. For nurses and healthcare teams, medical robots alleviate stress and staffing shortages. For patients, robots offer companionship, mobility, and personalized care.
Robotics is an industry in a constant state of evolution. This is only the beginning for medical robots, and tomorrow’s new innovations are sure to revolutionize healthcare even further by creating intuitive healing built on cutting-edge technology.