Our Chief Technology Officer, Roger Smith, recently presented at the Florida Health IT Summit in St. Petersburg, on the topic of the future of robotic surgery.
Robotic surgery has been a disruptive force in medicine and will only continue to grow as new technology is developed and introduced. Robotic assistance tools are capable of operating in ergonomic, minimally invasive manners that can’t be attained by other methods. Knowing this, it’s interesting to consider the future of robotic surgery, to understand how robots will change and gain new innovative uses over time pushing healthcare into a more futuristic generation.
ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY
There are many things that contributed to the development of robotics and technology in modern healthcare. Stories like Star Wars and the Star Trek being released into the world created an eagerness to evolve and replicate a progressive society for the future. People love the future, and introducing robotics into the equation gives a glimpse of the sci-fi technology that captivates us in the movies.
New evolvements in artificial intelligence and cloud computing are also a contributing factor in the mass development and growth of robotic devices. A computer can process a data value more effectively with robots, and the AI assists in the robot’s ability to learn with each new piece of robotic technology. The last series of determining facts have to do with the healthcare system and investors from a business standpoint. Large corporations and powerful business leaders want to invest in the new and exciting. Robotics is a fast-growing market and it’s becoming easier to get funds to increase and expand the market.
CHALLENGES IN THE MARKET
With every new piece of technology introduced, growth pains or challenges will emerge. Robots are here, but the accessibility is limited. The first operational challenge we can see is the lack of space and training. These devices require a large amount of operating and storage space that’s not always available in a hospital. Additionally, there are not many nurses or surgeons that are trained on the equipment and feel comfortable enough operating. The amount of care and sterilization can also be a challenge when using robotics. In most cases, there is one robot that will continually be exposed to the various patients, and the instrument processing requires specialized handling.
Financially, there are a few roadblocks as well. The price of these devices is extreme because of capital investment. Businesses want to make a profit from these devices, and because they will not be used as frequently, they need to increase the price. This leads into the instrumental cost diluting the profit. Lastly, from a marketing standpoint, the surge of robotics in healthcare is a difficult message to convey. We need to be focused and make sure we’re reaching the right audiences, but it can sometimes be difficult to get everyone on board.
This leaves us with a market that is experiencing both massive growth and major challenges in development and acceptance. Here at the Nicholson Center, we are educating surgeons on the future and benefits of progress in robotics, focusing on shortening the learning curve. If you are interested in learning more about robotics or are interested in taking a course in specialized robotic surgery, visit nicholsoncenter.com.