Robots in Medicine? On the Rise

By Karin Krisher

robots in medicineThis post isn’t necessarily meant to offer advice, or too much insight. We just think advances in medical technology are really cool, and that these are ones you should definitely know about.

Robots in medicine are on the up and up. Just yesterday, news broke that RP-VITA (Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant) will begin making bedside visits. And today, the FDA approved a robotic system to perform remotely controlled angioplasty.

If there’s fear these two robots will replace human docs, let’s dispel it now. Today’s tech is designed to make the doctors’ and patients’ experiences more successful and simple. It’s for us, not against us. In fact, both advents still involve patient/doctor interaction:

The former is designed to make rounds simpler. The robot’s head is a video screen that features the visiting doctor, who could be home sick in bed himself. High-definition camera eyes allow the clinician magnification and angular perspective so she or he doesn’t miss a beat or slight pupil dilation. RP-VITA also features a microphone that relays the doctor’s voice. Overall, it’s an incredible opportunity to allow more staff to attend to emergency or critical situations.

Clinical trials showed that the latter robot, named the CorPath 200, is 97.6 percent successful in its endeavor: holding open an artery and placing a stent. On top of that, it reduces lead exposure (to the surgeon) by 95 percent and gives doctors better precision and visualization. Patients should be more comfortable having a doctor who isn’t exhausted from standing on his or her feet draped in a lead cape for an hour or two, and doctors should feel good about added precision and mental acuity.

It’s no question that medical technology no longer refers solely to an EKG. Times are changing, and RP-VITA and CorPath 200 are just the newest reminders of how innovation will continue to shape the landscape of medicine as far as the eye can see.

What do you see for the future of robots in medicine? Are you excited, nervous, or even enthralled? Tell us in a comment!