Health Care Technology
The rapid development of technology has become pertinent in health care to enhance treatment and care for the patients. Healthcare practitioners are nowadays capable of offering less expensive, faster, and more effective patient care than they were doing a decade ago. Many hospitals in the US can accommodate a hundred or more beds, but they lack robots, which can relieve hospital staff some of their duties. Although the use of robots in checkups and surgery in health care are expensive in the short-run, this technology is likely to improve the quality of healthcare, increase productivity, and reduce the cost of healthcare in the longrun.
Use of Robotics in Health Care
Use of robots in the health care has remained one of the technologies that have yet to be fully exploited. I opted to choose the article Robots get to work because it explains how hospitals have embraced the use of robot technology in their operations, where healthcare practitioners do not necessarily require being at the bedside talking to patients. I am interested in pharmacy, and I believe use of robots in pharmacy would guarantee accuracy, minimize human errors, and enhance patient satisfaction. In pharmacy, robotics can be utilized in solid medication dispensing, liquid medication preparations, and delivery of medication drugs to individual nursing units.
Many hospitals have adopted the use of robots to carry out simple tasks within the hospital environment, a practice that has helped to reduce costs, enhance operations in hospitals, and minimize medical errors. Hospitals are searching for ways to make health services affordable and fast, and no necessarily embracing technology (Lee, 2013). However, many people are still asking whether the expensive technology is capable of delivering its promises.
In most US hospitals, there are robots that have taken jobs that were previously handled by hospital staff while other robots are deployed in telemedicine technology to link clinicians to patients in new ways that did not exist before. Robot technology is employed in large medical centers that are capable of sustaining the budget to run such technology. The market for robots is yet to expand to smaller hospitals, since most of them cannot afford to invest more than $1 million for robots.
Robot manufactures and healthcare practitioners believe that the effort to enhance quality, in addition to reduce medical costs can boost the use of robots in the future, which will increase the level of automation in various health care facilities. Robotics can enhance operation rooms through improving patient outcomes. Robots have managed to prevail over some lapse that could happen with human errors, although this has not been adequately proven, as this technology is still new in many health care facilities. Although Xenex’s room disinfection systems are marketed as robots, they do not have automation, which is associated with such term.
According to Lee (2013), approximately 800 hospitals have adopted telemedicine system in the US. Robots are utilized to link patients to specialists using the telemedicine system. Some hospitals, such as Dignity Health’s Mercy San Juan Medical Center, have acquired the RP-Vita to facilitate their operations. This is after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed the RP-Vita to be used in hospitals. However, healthcare industry has been reluctant in adopting robotics even when other industries, such as manufacturing and processing, have already adopted this technology. Medical analysts have claimed that robotics technology is still in its early stages, thus, people are likely to experience changes quite soon.
If managed effectively, robotics technology has the potential to enhance quality of health care through elimination of medical errors, and handling of emergency cases. Robots are capable of reducing medical costs through saving time, and increasing the number of patients to be handled daily. When used in surgery, robots can assist surgeons to have proper control of instrument, which reduces the possibility of fatigue, as surgeons do not have to stand throughout the operation time. When used in pharmacy, robots can assist in delivering medications faster, and allow pharmacy technicians to undertake other responsibilities in the healthcare environment (Schimpff, 2012). Robotics can enable medical practitioners to mentor, train, or educate other healthcare providers using robots and telemedicine.
Definition of Some Terms:
Robotics: This is a branch in engineering and computer science, which designs, operates, and creates applications that run robots. A system designed through robotics works autonomously, and can duplicate human behavior, hence can perform similar duties as humans.
Telemedicine: This involves using telecommunications and information technology in patient care when the patient is far from the caregiver (Latifi & Hadeed, 2011). Telemedicine includes use of wireless tools such as smart phones, videos, and email, to connect to patients, thus eliminating distance barriers between patients and health practitioners.
Xenex’s disinfection system: This is a device utilized in hospitals for cleaning and disinfecting equipments and rooms. This system has been incorporated in hospital environment in the cleaning operations since it is easy to use and works at a high speed.
RP-Vita: This is a remote-controlled system used in patient care, which combines autonomous navigation with telemedicine technology. This type of robot has assisted doctors to interact with patients without being in their wards.
Latifi, R., Poropatich, R., & Hadeed, G. J. (2011). Telemedicine for trauma, emergencies, and disaster management. Boston: Artech House.
Lee, J. (2013, May 25). Robots get to work. Modern Healthcare. Retrieved on 10 April 2015 from http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20130525/MAGAZINE/305259957
Schimpff, S. (2012, January 16). Robotics can revolutionize the delivery of medical care. KevinMD. Retrieved on 10 April 2015 from http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/01/robotics-revolutionize-delivery-medical-care.html