Will we call healthcare robots ‘Doctor’?
Are societal attitudes ready to accept new roles for technology in healthcare?
Are you ready for the robot doctor to see you? We may well be on the verge of a robotic revolution in healthcare. Technology is set to transform how healthcare is delivered, and robotics in particular have the potential to revolutionise healthcare delivery in areas from surgery to direct patient-care.
While healthcare transformation is rapidly becoming a technological possibility, with remote patient monitoring, 3D printing and advanced robotics set to revolutionise medicine, it is our societal mind-set that may require the greatest shift. So are we ready to adapt and accept technological innovation in an industry largely based on human interaction?
Calling Doctor Robot
According to research carried out by Epson into the workplace of tomorrow, the reality of being seen by a robot doctor is some way off, but significant progress has already taken place.
Robotics and artificial intelligence will have a crucial role in the surgical theatre of tomorrow. Our research revealed that 46 percent of healthcare workers are aware of the possibility of, and agree that surgery and diagnosis with the aid of AI-enhanced robots will be revolutionary to the healthcare industry. A further 34 percent are also aware of and agree that treatment and caregiving conducted by robots with artificial intelligence will be revolutionary, freeing up resources for medical professionals to have a more fulfilling role.
Robots expand patient care
The traditional view of the doctor as we understand it today will not vanish, but instead evolve and be enabled by the emergence of new technology. With support and monitoring functions covered, and instant access to data and analysis made possible by new technological capabilities, doctors will have more time to focus on patients as individuals, enabling them to distribute their time and knowledge better.
The true question in healthcare then becomes one of the acceptance and up-take of this transformative technology. In a sector based on human interaction, to what extent will patients allow their health to be managed by technology?
Future healthcare is coming
Improvements in patient care and overall benefits to the healthcare industry are already being recognised in these technological advances. Healthcare spending on technology is already seeing huge growth, with the healthcare AI market alone predicted to grow at 41 percent CAGR to 2021, and 3D printing in healthcare expected to be worth US$6 billion by 2025.
The reality on offer is a fascinating evolution, delivering greater efficiency, more structured care and ultimately better clinical outcomes for patients. With the struggle to ensure the appropriate educational systems, frameworks for training, requisite hospital facilities and improvement of practice, the true challenge may not be in the end result, but in the significant hurdles the industry must overcome to implement this transformation, not least patient acceptance.
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