We all know about how science and technology fuels the advancement of medicine and health services. We started out with mundane herbal medications during our forefathers’ times to today’s advanced genetic engineering that is opening up new opportunities to cure HIV/AIDS, cancer, aging and birth defects and so on.
That’s the biochemical aspect though, mechanically, medical technology has made huge advances too over this past decades. Robotics, engineering and medicine has combined to produce today what was once in the imaginations, drawing boards, fictional literature and art; robotic doctors.
A very good sample can be found today at Baltimore’s Sinai Hospital, where doctors use videoconferencing, joystick-controlled robots outfitted with cameras, a screen and microphone to check in their patients. One in particular robot is the one guided into the rooms of Dr. Alex Gandsas’ patients where he speaks to them as if he were right there.
“The system allows you to be anywhere in the hospital from anywhere in the world,” said the surgeon, who specializes in weight-loss surgery.
Besides his normal morning and afternoon in-person rounds, Gandsas uses the $150,000 robot to visit patients at night or when problems arise. The robot can circle the bed and adjust the position of its two cameras, giving “the perception from the patient’s standpoint that the doctor is there,” the surgeon said.
“They love it. They’d rather see me through the robot,” he said of his patients’ reaction to the machine.
Thanks to this mechanical aides, doctors can visit more patients in lesser time, increasing hospital efficiency and curbing the problems of shortages in health professionals while maintaining even improving patient satisfaction. This is contrary to the views of those who refuse to welcome such improvements to the health and medical fields that once you use a robot or some form of remote technology, you remove the ‘human touch’ from the service that the patient deserves and looks for when he goes to the see the doctor or visit the hospital.
This ‘human touch’ is necessary for an effective delivery of health care services for after all, when something is wrong with you, having another human being in a face to face conversation is a great assurance that you’ll be fixed real soon. So in the case of these pioneering robot doctors, the ‘human touch’ is preserved by the use of wireless technology, a video cam, and a display monitor. Something we are all familiar with thanks to the rise of live video chatting over the internet all thanks to the web cam.
The video below is a recording of the humble beginnings of this doctor robots.
This technology is still in its early years, more and more advances and usages for this robotic doctors are on the horizon, from checking in patients, to crucial surgeries even to precise delivery of drugs and medicines right inside the cell using nano-technology, Dr Robot, MD is here to stay.