Surgeries assisted by robots throughout the world are slowly on the rise, with the 100th robotic cancer surgery happening in February 2017.
But as they become more ubiquitous it raises the question: How will robots impact the future of those employed in the medial profession?
“I think there will always be a need for nurses and doctors,” said Michigan State University nursing junior Nicole Haist. “There is an increase in the amount of procedures done with machines or robots but a machine will never be able to provide patients with the therapeutic care that is needed to make sure a patient is continually cared for throughout the healing process.”
Machines, while a great tool to assist doctors and nurses throughout the process, do not provide the human element that many need throughout the recovery period.
“Nursing isn’t about the procedures,” Haist said. “It’s about teaching and educating the patient, catering to their specific learning styles so they can hopefully get healthy and stay out of the hospital.”
There are many people out there who see benefits of surgery assist robots during a procedure and believe they serve a bigger purpose than many would like to believe.
“They enhance the precision of the surgeon which allows them to operate on more delicate tissues and in tighter spaces of the body,” said Adam Seel, a medical research associate for the Sparrow Health system. “They also don’t require large incisions so patient recovery is much quicker. I believe robots and doctors will be a growing combo in the future.”
Human error is a problem patients hope robotics can remove.
“Machines and robots would be able to be much more exact and precise,” said Tyler Dutton, a patient who recently underwent intensive surgery for a damaged bladder. “In the case of surgeries that are 10 plus hours, doctors can get tired and make mistakes. Robots wouldn’t have that fatigue.”
While the technology is believed to be more precise and less painful to patients, surgery assist robots have received criticism for the high expenses. The average cost reportedly being $1,500 to $2,000 per patient.
“The technology is still young so it makes sense that it would be as expensive as it is,” Seel said. “I think as time goes on it will become more common practice in the field. As of now it’s not really that accessible to the general public.
The technology might be young the rate at which it is growing is rapid. A doctor will more than likely always need to be present in the room, but having a room full of medical experts might not be a thing in the future.