“The Robot Will See You Now”

“Robotics and AI have been improving the medical field and helping medical professionals do their best.” | Downstream Column, Fair Use

Doctors are being replaced by machines that do a better job and cost less 

| AI beats human doctors at predicting breast cancer

Jan 1, 2020

NEW SCIENTIST – An artificial intelligence system is better at predicting breast cancer than radiologists, according to a UK-US study led by Google Health.

The team behind the technology hopes it can be widely deployed to improve cancer care.

Detecting cancer early improves the chances of treatment succeeding. That is why many countries routinely screen women for signs of breast cancer using an X-ray scan called a mammogram.

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In the UK, women aged between 50 and 71 are invited for a scan every three years.

The American Cancer Society recommends annual scans for women aged between 45 and 54, and suggests that women aged 55 and over have a scan every one or two years.

But such programs are far from perfect. Radiologists can miss signs of cancer in some women, while others may be prescribed harsh chemical and surgical treatments for lesions that might never have caused cancer.

Over a 10-year period, half of women in the US who have a mammogram will have a false-positive result.

In 2014, one large Canadian study found that women given annual breast scans were no more likely to survive breast cancer in the long run.

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In an attempt to improve diagnoses, Shravya Shetty at Google Health and her colleagues trained an AI system on 91,000 mammograms … Read more. 

The Growing Emergence of Robots in Healthcare


HIT Consultant Media – Robots are a rapidly growing part of the modern health care landscape. The history of robots in medicine dates back to 1985 when a robotic arm called “PUMA” assisted with surgery for the first time. The operation — a neurosurgical biopsy — was a complete success.

Some of today’s health care robots make PUMA look a little primitive by comparison. Advances in sensor and motion control technologies mean robots are more precise and autonomous than ever, and capable of not just assisting, but carrying out complex surgeries themselves.

Other market drivers of robotic healthcare innovations include devising new care models for a large and rapidly aging population and the challenge of bringing high-quality care to new and underserved markets in a cost-effective way.

There are several key opportunities and benefits for healthcare providers and patients when robots become part of the services offered. These advantages include:

  • Provide assistance or comfort to patients or visitors
  • Eliminate human error in delicate, high-risk procedures
  • Reduce the time required for surgeries
  • Improve patient recovery time
  • Shorten hospital stays
  • Create targeted and personalized treatments

Use Cases for Robots in Healthcare

With these unique benefits in mind, let’s look at some real-world use cases for robots in healthcare that exist today or are very close to reaching the market.

1. Robots in Surgery and Orthopedics

Early 2019 saw the first documented case of a surgeon performing surgery over a distance using robotic assistance and a 5G internet connection.

Remote surgery wasn’t possible with previous-generation connectivity technologies, since only 5G has the low latency required to maintain parity between the movements of the surgeon and the robotic arm … Read more. 

How Robots Are Changing The Landscape Of The Medical Field

Sep 12, 2018

Downstream Column – From robotic surgical arms to therapy assistants, robotics have had a positive impact on the healthcare industry. In fact, here are a few other ways robotics and AI have been improving the medical field and helping medical professionals do their best.

  1. Artificial intelligence can help to identify surgical complications. One of the biggest problems older patients face is the risk of surgical complications. Depending on one’s age and medical history, certain patients may be more at risk for complications after surgery. Engineers have been developing algorithms that would make it easier to identify potential surgical complications in given patients. This can help prepare medical professionals to tend to these complications directly if they were to happen.
  2. Robotics reduce the need for invasive procedures. Invasive procedures can be expensive. They can also take longer to heal from, whether the patient is young or elderly. Robotic surgeons (such as the robotic arm) make it easier and less expensive for surgeons to perform a certain procedure. Because the robot’s tools are small, the surgeon is better able to access the surgical area. This reduces the risk of muscle tears and tissue damage.
  3. Robots can help reduce injuries among medical professionals. Back injuries are one of the most common nonfatal injuries experienced by medical professionals in the healthcare sector. This is because medical professionals need to lift patients in and out of bed, wheelchairs, and gurneys. Robots can help reduce the risk for these injuries. Robear, a large automaton teddy bear, was first developed by Japanese companies Sumitomo Riko Company and RIKEN. The robot is designed to lift and move patients, help them stand, and turn on the bed.
  4. Artificial intelligence can identify where doctors may be needed most. California startup company One Concern has designed an algorithm that can detect where first responders and medical assistance may be needed most after an earthquake. By identifying the areas in given a city where the earthquake has struck the hardest and comparing the data to population numbers and residential areas, medical professionals will be able to respond to disaster situations faster and save more lives.

The world is headed for another technological revolution with robotics and AI becoming increasingly present in every industry. But what’s most exciting is that robotics and AI are making the healthcare industry a safer, more efficient, and less expensive field. Read more. 


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