Within healthcare industry, robotic surgery has become the latest innovative trend and experts are of the view that robotic systems will become common in most hospitals by 2025. Though robotic surgery sounds very hi-tech, its demand is rising as general population is ageing in developed countries. Moreover, most developed countries are facing a severe shortage of trained medical surgeons.
So what exactly is robotic surgery? Well, it is a system of computer-aided machines that have the ability to carry out complex surgical procedures either partially or independently. In 2014, robotic surgery equipment had a market share of 3 billion USD. This market share is expected to double by 2020.
This implies that the demand for robotic surgery equipment is growing continuously, but there are some risk factors associated with it as it is computer-assisted device: there could be instrumental and system errors during the surgical procedure, leading to accidental deaths. To assess these risks, a study was conducted by a team of researchers at University of Illinois. In the USA, they found that about 1000 injuries and 144 deaths were caused by complications in robotic surgery.
Nevertheless, robotic surgery is going to the silent revolution of healthcare as its advantages far outweigh its risks. With a robotic surgery, the efficiency, efficacy, and precision improve tremendously. At the same time, patients experience fewer post-surgical complications and can recuperate soon. This reduced hospitalization time, so most hospitals are now encouraging patients to undergo robotic surgeries. In most government hospitals, robotic surgery is being carried out today to remove tumors. Moreover, it is now very common for patients to undergo robotic surgery for the removal of prostate, bladder or kidney.
Today, low-cost robotic systems have also become a common sight in laparoscopic surgeries. In this minimally invasive procedure, a robotic arm would align a video camera around the organ, and not the human surgeon. Minimally invasive surgeries are otherwise costly, but prices are likely to fall with the use of robotic systems.
It is important to note that robotic surgeries are still controlled by surgeons who control their movements remotely. A robotic arm can stay steady for several hours of the surgical procedure, giving a clearer picture to surgeons. With the use of robotic arms, we can minimize the need for trained clinical professionals in operation theaters. Moreover, surgical procedures carried out with robotic systems would require much lesser time for completion. In some cases, it saves about 20% of original time.
It is not just surgeons but also general practitioners are facing competition from automated healthcare systems, such as robots and chatbots. In London, a new automated has been launched recently. It allowed patients to check their symptoms through a mobile app. Then, a doctor at NHS (National Health Services) provides consultation through video conferencing. Patients need to book an appointment just two hours prior to consultation. Although doctors are not completely replaced in this procedure, chatbots assess symptoms initially. Patients are asked to answer a set of questions in these mobile apps, paving the way for artificial intelligence in healthcare systems.