How medical robots will change healthcare

Stardust predictions get everyone talking, separating the mythical from the magical in robotics healthcare.

Robotics health threatens to challenge how patient care and treatment is performed redefining the word “preventative.”

All too often we hear about the benefits of mobile or 3D printing, but how often do you hear about medical nanobots or nanomites? The average life expectancy is increasing. In 1960, average life expectancy was 69.8 years, thirty years later that rose to 75.2 in 1990 and today it’s around 78.8 years according to the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC). New approaches to medicine and treatment are no longer optional, they’re essential. Robotic health offers some answers.

From telemedicine (clinical health care at a distance) to bioelectronics (stimulate and monitor your nervous system), the health ecosystem is evolving quickly. The greatest medical achievement in the last 100 years is the advancement of personal genome sequencing mapped to repositories of population diseases: introducing the migration from population health to personal genome diagnosis. The N-of-1: one patient one trial. Combine this with nanobots, in a world where, nanoids, nanites, nanomachines, and nanomites all reference nanomachines and nanomotors at which time biological machines could be used to identify and destroy cancer cells. In this future world disease is not a setback but merely a distraction like a low oil light. The car isn’t sick. It just needs a repair or tune-up and quickly it’s back on the road.

Medical nanotechnology is expected to employ nanorobots that will be injected into the patient to perform work at a cellular level. Ingestibles and internables bring forward the introduction of broadband-enabled digital tools that are eaten and “smart” pills that use wireless technology to help monitor internal reactions to medications. Medical nanotechnology is just the edge of the cliff. Let’s jump off.

Dermables, digital stickers for the skin open a vast range of possibilities. Netatmo’s JUNE bracelet adds some class to UV monitoring and UVSunSense make monitoring sun exposure fun.

The day before something is a breakthrough it’s a crazy idea. – Peter Diamandis

Why don’t we hear about these advancements in robotics every day? How come the population isn’t demanding small pilots that will undoubtedly extend life? I honestly don’t know.

Stardust predictions get everyone talking – how to do we separate the mythical from the magical? We can start by understanding the stakeholders in robotic health. Hint: they are not only the mad scientists in labs looking for new breakthroughs. They are your wife, husband, daughter, son, grandmother, or grandfather – these are the stakeholders, and they all have similar goals. Their goal is simple, stay healthy.

In a draft journal article by Simshaw, Terry, Hauser, and Cummings titled, Regulating Healthcare Robots in the Hospital and the Home, the report suggests that family members and caregivers, healthcare providers, technology providers, aging or physically challenged individuals have similar goals. Their collective goal is to provide independence, preserve dignity, empower those with special needs and provide peace of mind to all of the stakeholders. These stakeholder’s goals are aligned, despite how rare this might be.

Recently the “Healthcare Robotics 2015-2020: Trends, Opportunities & Challenges” report was released by the Robotics Business Review, that provided strategic information for the global robotics industry. The findings in this report are intriguing and help segment the robotic health market. In the search for the value of medical robotics, there are three main areas of robotic health:

  1. Direct patient care robots: surgical robots (used for performing clinical procedures), exoskeletons (for bionic extensions of self like the Ekso suit), and prosthetics (replacing lost limbs). Over 500 people a day loses a limb in America with 2 million Americans living with limb loss according to the CDC.
  2. Indirect patient care robots: pharmacy robots (streamlining automation, autonomous robots for inventory control reducing labor costs), delivery robots (providing medical goods throughout a hospital autonomously), and disinfection robots (interacting with people with known infectious diseases such as healthcare-associated infections or HAIs).
  3. Home healthcare robots: robotic telepresence solutions (addressing the aging population with robotic assistance).

The Population Reference Bureau report, “Aging in the United States,” showed that Americans 65-and-older will more than double moving from 46 million today to 98 million by 2060. The growth of the total population 65-and-older population is projected to grow from 15 percent to nearly 24 percent. Who will take care of the influx of aging individuals, when timely healthcare today is already questionable?

Medical robots will change healthcare. They have to.

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Peter is a technology executive with 19 years of experience, dedicated to driving innovation, digital transformation, leadership, and data in business. He helps organizations connect strategy to execution to maximize company performance. He has been recognized for Digital Innovation by CIO 100, MIT Sloan, Computerworld, and the Project Management Institute. As Managing Director at OROCA Innovations, Peter leads the CXO advisory services practice, driving digital strategies. Peter was honored as an MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award Finalist in 2015 and is a regular contributor to CIO.com on innovation. Peter has led businesses through complex changes, including the adoption of data-first approaches for portfolio management, lean six sigma for operational excellence, departmental transformations, process improvements, maximizing team performance, designing new IT operating models, digitizing platforms, leading large-scale mission-critical technology deployments, product management, agile methodologies, and building high-performance teams. As Chief Information Officer, Peter was responsible for Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange’s (HIX) industry-leading digital platform transforming consumerism and retail oriented services for the health insurance industry. Peter championed the Connecticut marketplace digital implementation with a transformational cloud-based SaaS platform and mobile application recognized as a 2014 PMI Project of the Year Award finalist, CIO 100, and awards for best digital services, API, and platform. He also received a lifetime achievement award for leadership and digital transformation, honored as a 2016 Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader. Peter is the author of Learning Intelligence: Expand Thinking. Absorb Alternative. Unlock Possibilities (2017), which Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Triggers, calls "a must-read for any leader wanting to compete in the innovation-powered landscape of today." Peter also authored The Power of Blockchain for Healthcare: How Blockchain Will Ignite The Future of Healthcare (2017), the first book to explore the vast opportunities for blockchain to transform the patient experience. Peter has a B.S. in C.I.S from Bentley University and an MBA from Quinnipiac University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He earned his PMP® in 2001 and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Masters in Business Relationship Management (MBRM) and Certified Scrum Master. As a Commercial Rated Aviation Pilot and Master Scuba Diver, Peter understands first hand, how to anticipate change and lead boldly.