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This week we’re looking at how the healthcare industry can and is adapting to technology to greater improve the service and welfare of patients and providers. Yesterday we looked at the use of augmented reality or virtual reality, another area of exciting growth has been the use of robotics in the healthcare sector.

As early as the 1990s, the U.S government began combining robotics with computer networking to remotely treat injured soldiers on the battlefield with great success. Last year, more than 5,000 surgical robots were used in more than 1 million procedures worldwide covering areas from orthopaedics, urology, general surgery, gynaecology, neurology, bariatric, rectal and colon, to dental implants and hair transplants.

Discussing the use of robotics in healthcare, Chief technology officer at the AdventHealth Nicholson Center, Roger Smith said “the surgical robotics future offers much more than mechanized extensions of a surgeon’s hands. Robotic software and hardware are the next generation of instruments and tools to improve surgeon skills and patient outcomes.”

Echoing hopes that technological advances, such as the use of AI in complex surgeries, Chief clinical officer at Sound Physicians, Dr. John Birkmeyer, said “we know that a surgeon’s skill, particularly with new or difficult procedures, varies widely, with huge implications for patient outcomes and cost. AI can both reduce that variation, and help all surgeons improve – even the best ones. It’s important to leverage that digital feedback.”

As well as improving patient safety, the utilisation of new technologies offers an opportunity to advance medical knowledge, ease workflow in an overburdened sector and lower healthcare costs.

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