Sometimes we take doctors for granted because of are not very familiar with the amount of work they do, the stress and fatigue they suffer when they operate on someone for a number of hours, with the added pressure of having a person’s life in your hands. Hopefully, some doctors might find relief in new and improved robot doctors.
According to experts in the medical technology industry as well as surgeons, reinforcements are on the way. Within five years, one in three surgeries, in hospitals all over the United States, are expected to be performed by robot doctors, while surgeons operate the consoles used to guide mechanical arms. The current level of robotic-assisted operations is only one in six.
Although many doctors consider that robotic systems are in need of more improvements, there are certain benefits to using one, such as reducing fatigue and giving doctors greater precision when undertaking critical tasks.
Other doctors like Dr. Helmuth Billy, consider the robots to be more cumbersome and time-consuming than helpful. He was an early adopter of the da Vinci robotic system but equipping its arms with instruments slowed him down, so he rarely uses it now.
The current industry leader in robotic doctors is Intuitive Surgical, which has over 3,600 da Vinci machines in hospital worldwide. Most US hospitals that specialize in cancer treatment, urology, gastroenterology and gynecology has a Da Vinci even at the average price of $1, 5 million. Currently, robot doctors are used repairing hernias, in bariatric surgery and in prostate removals. They are even used in marketing campaigns for the hospitals in order to attract patients as well as doctors trained to operate them.
In recent time, the industry has seen the emergences of new companies trying to develop the new and improved generation of robotic doctors. Some of Intuitive’s competitors are Medtronic and a new startup company backed by Google and Johnson & Johnson. Their goal is to develop a less expensive and more nimble robot, capable of performing an increasing number of procedures.
According to various surgeons, the new robots should be able to allow the operators to feel the tissue remotely using a system called haptic sensing; they should easily perform more standard procedures, and an improved image quality wouldn’t hurt. Of course, with a low-enough price to convince more medical service providers to buy one.
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