The Robots that are Changing Healthcare
Robotic systems are nothing new to healthcare. Healthcare robotics systems have been used in over 20 thousand surgeries, paving the way for wider adoption throughout the healthcare ecosystem. Innovative companies have introduced a number of future technologies to provide care to patients remotely, help with various physical therapies, and perform surgery.
Much of the challenges and opportunities for robots in medicine comes from their benefits to perform tasks that humans cannot do, at least not efficiently. Efficiency is critical for healthcare in both the hospital and home healthcare. This demand will continue to increase as a result of an aging population. According to the United Nations, the world population over the age of 60 has tripled in the last 50 years, and is expected to triple again to 2 billion by 2050. This trend will have an especially big impact on the home care sector, as evidence demonstrates a desire among older populations to stay in the home, as opposed to living in an assisted care facility. Medical professionals, however, are cautioning against home and hospital medical personnel who are undertrained and under qualified. Effectively designed robots could help meet this healthcare demand in a safer, more responsible, and sustainable manner.
Currently, robotics plays a major role in the following healthcare products:
Portable medical robot diagnostic tools for point-of-care testing. One great example of these comes to us from the company PixCell. PixCell’s products are based on its innovative Viscoleastic Focusing (VEF) technology and single use cartridges that enable rapid, accurate, and simple blood sampling and analysis. Results are displayed within minutes in an easily readable format. PixCell's mission is to make tests currently restricted to the laboratory more accessible, easy to use, and affordable.
Diagnostic medical systems. Digi-Lite™, for example, provides a complete diagnostic solution for the modern Neurosonology or Neurovascular laboratory. Digi-Lite™ non-invasively measures the blood flow velocity in the main arteries of the brain, facilitating the detection of stenosis and emboli flowing in the blood stream. Another device, Medoc's PATHWAY Pain & Sensory Evaluation System, introduces revolutionary new technology and capabilities in the area of objective evoked pain potential and advanced stimulator products.
Healthcare Robotics' Nursing Assistant uses a direct physical interface (DPI) that lets a nurse have direct control over the movement of the robot, a "human-scale" mobile manipulator called Cody. Using the DPI, the nurse is able to lead and position Cody by making direct contact with its "body." When the user grabs and moves either of the robot's end effectors -- or the black rubber balls attached to the robot -- Cody responds. For example, pulling forward or pushing backward make the robot do the same, and moving the end effector to the right or the left causes the robot to rotate. Users can also grab Cody's arm and abduct or adduct it at the shoulder, causing Cody to move sideways.
Automated systems that allow a facility to move supplies such as medication, linens and food from one space to another are another area where robots make a lot of sense. The robot moves through hospital corridors, elevators and departments at any time during the day to make either scheduled or on-demand deliveries. End users can attach the system to a variety of hospital carts to transport supplies and it can be employed for a variety of applications.
Several scientists and researchers around the world are manufacturing "microbots" - an assortment of free-roaming robots that carry out precise, delicate tasks inside the human body. For example, a minibot named Steerable Surgeons is made of flat nickel parts assembled to make a 3D tool that can be used during retinal surgeries, in drug therapy, and for ocular disease. Its power sources are external electromagnetic coils, and it uses magnetic field gradients as a steering mechanism.
Archer Software has experience in healthcare hardware development and developing effective software solutions for healthcare companies, software for existing and new hardware, and has received consistently positive feedback from its clients. You can take a look at our full Healthcare portfolio here.
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