What does the future of healthcare look like? For the past decade, cutting-edge technology has led to medical advancements and innovative practices that have reshaped healthcare. Today, healthcare professionals have the tools, computing power and collective research, to effectively diagnose and care for their patients. From augmented reality to 3D printed drugs, the healthcare industry is truly living in the future.
Recently, the healthcare industry has explored leveraging robots in everyday care, from streamlining administration tasks to improving healthcare practices. Robots offer a new way to collect and share data, while expediting the process at the same time. Below are practical ways in which robots can be deployed in the healthcare environment to assist healthcare professionals and improve patient experience:
- Automate Diagnostics: Roughly 130.4 million ER visits occur in the United States each year. With the abundance of patients requiring medical attention, it is critical that doctors are able to diagnose patients in a timely manner. To ensure an efficient use of time, robots can be used to assist doctors in streamlining visits by automating practices including checkups, testing, diagnosis and prescriptions.
- Protect Patient Privacy: As new technology devices emerge, privacy has increasingly become a top concern for patients, healthcare providers and hospitals. To ensure that patient records are kept secure, a robot equipped with an Open API platform can be programmed to connect with a hospital’s private cloud server, ensuring patient’s confidential information can only be accessed with hospital credentials.
- Entertain Patients: Hospitals often have the negative connotation of being a scary place. To make patients’ visits more enjoyable, robots can provide entertainment by dancing, playing games and communicating using voice commands and gesture control capabilities.
- Shorten Wait Times: In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the average Emergency Room (ER) wait times were roughly 30 minutes and the average treatment times were about 90 minutes, resulting in wait times of roughly two hours. To reduce long wait times and improve the patients’ experience, robots can be deployed in waiting rooms for a variety of applications including assisting patients waiting in the ER with their administrative paperwork.
- Enhance Physical Therapy: In addition to waiting rooms, service robots can assist with physical therapy sessions. Using a projector or touch screen, robots can display instructional videos to help patients learn the proper technique for rehabilitation exercises.
- Comfort Children: Hospitals can be a foreign place for children. To ease any concerns children may have prior to their appointment, a robot’s touchscreen can be used to tell stories, display educational materials, or stream videos to calm a child during stressful situations.
- Overcome Language Barriers: As global travel continues to grow, the percentage of patients who visit a hospital outside of their native country increases. Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a programed language database, robots can help doctors communicate and quickly diagnose patients from abroad.
- Provide 24/7 Care: Robots equipped with cameras and sensors can also assist patients by performing around-the-clock patient monitoring, ensuring that patients receive constant care. Additionally, robots can connect to wearables such as a heart rate monitor to keep an eye on a patient’s vitals and contact a healthcare professional should an issue arise.
The applications for robots in the healthcare environment are continuing to grow, and some of the top hospitals in America are already deploying robots to help reduce costs, streamline operations and improve the patient experience. Ultimately, the future of robots in healthcare will be determined by implementation, but for now the future looks bright.
Ryan Wu is the Deputy General Manager at Qihan, overseeing the company’s interntional sales, marketing and products. Since joining in 2008, Ryan has held research, management and executive leadership positions, driving the growth of Qihan’s operations in artificial intelligence, robotics and video surveillance.
For more information about Qihan, visit www.qihan.cn