Physician burnout is more prominent than ever. But does it have to be? Non-surgical robots could be the solution many of us haven't yet considered!
Clinicians are burning out faster than ever before due to a combination of increased bureaucracy, paperwork load, and restrictive regulations.
One solution is to find a way to incentivize more people to become doctors and nurses, which is a complicated discussion. Another solution is to take as much non-essential work off of the clinicians’ hands as possible. Some of this can be done with improved EMR automation, medical computers with single sign-on capabilities, and support staff.
However, there’s a way to nip the bigger problem of a sky-high workload right in the bud. That’s where cooperative, non-surgical robots come into the equation.
What Are Non-Surgical Robots?
Surgical robots have been in the operating room for some time — though, those aren’t so much autonomous “robots” as they are just computerized surgical tools.
Non-surgical robots, however, are actually robots: autonomous or partially-autonomous machines that can move independently and perform relatively complex tasks.
They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can help in different ways. Some robots can lug equipment and supplies around, while others sit on a desk and use an autonomous arm to perform repetitive or banal tasks. Others are larger and provide companionship or even mobility assistance to those who need help with small tasks.
But what precisely can these robots do to help doctors and nurses right now?
Have Medical Robots Been Successfully Used?
Basic labor robots created by companies like Aethon have already been used to fetch and deliver supplies wherever they’re needed. In theory, a doctor or nurse can order the supplies they need through a conveniently-placed medical tablet or nearby computer on wheels and the labor robot will retrieve it- The clinician can keep their eye on their patients while a robot does the dirty work.
Companion robots, on the other hand, can help the elderly or infirm with mobility situations without having to page in a nurse every five minutes. Robots like those at Georgia Tech can stay in the room and help patients walk to the bathroom, retrieve items they need, and even put on or remove their hospital gown.
Laboratory robots like those created by ABB have been used in medical labs to do repetitive tasks like preparing slides and any other low-effort but high-volume tasks. After implementing these robots in the lab at the Texas Medical Center, ABB’s President of Robots and Discrete Automation said this about the successful implementation:
“The next-generation laboratory processes developed in Houston will speed manual medical laboratory processes, reducing and eliminating bottlenecks in laboratory work and enhancing safety and consistency.” – Sami Atiya
There are even robots that can disinfect entire operating or exam rooms. Robots like the Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot are sent into a room, where they patrol with an extended UV lamp that kills a huge amount of dangerous pathogens. And with nosocomial infections taking up so much hospital time and so many resources, this kind of robot frees up clinician time in an incredibly useful way.
What Does the Future of Non-Surgical Robots Look Like?
The future of non-surgical, cooperative robots in the hospital, doctor’s office, and other healthcare centers is bright.
Pharmaceutical robots are already being tested that can mix dosages and even deliver the drugs bedside to the patients. When linked up to the patient’s EMR profile, these robots will even be able to catch dosage or drug interaction snafus that might have otherwise been disastrous.
Diagnostic robots wouldn’t replace doctors, but they would be able to use machine learning and facial recognition-type software to spot common signs of things like stroke, skin cancer, and more. And, of course, feeding this same robot the patient’s history and complaints allow it to scan thousands of similar records to find commonalities.
The Robot Invasion
These kinds of robotic helpers will allow doctors and nurses to spend more time doing what they love instead of tedious or irritating tasks.
This increase of satisfaction could prevent physician burnout on a large scale and inspire more to enter the medical profession, knowing they’re getting the help they need in the least attractive areas of the job.
If you want to learn more about the kind of healthcare technology and medical computers that can increase efficiency in health centers everywhere, contact the experts at Cybernet today.