I have been to the hospital many times since I was born. I have bad asthma and a terrible immune system so at least once a year I have been to a hospital for health reasons. Many people don’t like hospitals or are even afraid of them. My father is an OB/GYN, Obstetrics and Gynecology, so I have also been inside hospitals many times without the intent for treatment, just hanging around my father as he did his business. As a result of this I feel comfortable in hospitals even going so far as to say I feel at home in one. However, aside from the time I spent with my father inside hospitals, I feel comfortable in them while there for treatment because of how the staff treats you while your there. Nurses and doctors do their best to make you feel comfortable and at ease while getting exams or treatment. Last year I hurt my leg and I needed surgery. I needed to be put under anesthesia and that made me nervous. The nurses and doctor performing my surgery were being extremely friendly and even telling me jokes to calm my nerves and reassuring me that I will be fine.
My question “Is future healthcare becoming less human?” is inspired by news articles I read every year about the future of healthcare and how robots and robot technology are becoming more popular in the field of medical treatment and study. I have read over and over again how robots are becoming more integrated with the treatment of patients from performing something as simple as drawing blood to something as complex as performing surgery. I ask this question because at the rate of how fast robots are becoming apart of hospitals, will the patient still feel the compassion, dedication, and care that nurses, doctors, and other human staff members often provide for them?
According to MedicalFuturist.com, a site and blog run by Doctor Bertalan Mesko PHD, the future of robot healthcare will increase the level of security and care the patients feel and will even be a benefit to the staff as well as the patients. Dr. Mesko says that machines do not need sleep or food which benefits the patient because it is ready to provide care and perform procedures at a moments notice. He also described the machines as the opposite of discriminatory, racist, or prejudice, so the treatment it gives to the patients will never change based on the person and will always be at its best.
As anyone can imagine surgery is never fun and there are risks to having it done but the benefits could potentially out weigh the risks. All you can do is hope your in the most capable hands of a skilled surgeon. Now imagine your surgeon controlling a robot that makes pin point precision cuts and and other delicate tasks like neck and back surgery. However the site and blog also claim that just like most practices in medicine, robotic surgery is not 100% safe. In fact severe injury and even death have occurred because of unskilled robotic technicians/surgeons. Power failure, all though not common, is also a risk factor.
Well as seen from the topic reviewed above, thinking logically, the patient will always have human contact with interjections of robot involvement, some minor and some major. The robotics field shows amazing hope for the future, but progress isn’t without it failures along the way to success.
P.S. Another huge impact on robotics and human health science, ladies and gentlemen, behold the Exoskeleton.