At the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 was announced as a global pandemic. The healthcare industry is one of the many threatening to collapse from the pressure that comes with handling a new virus. Today, healthcare workers are working overtime to combat the virus’s effects as scientists work to find a vaccine.
The healthcare system is slowly cracking under the pressure of this pandemic. According to a recent global report, the world is at a deficit of more than 5 million nurses. This is the number needed for the world to be able to reach its healthcare targets. Since it is impossible for these numbers to be realized through hiring human workers, the healthcare industry is slowly considering the implementation of collaborative robots to combat the increasing demand for healthcare workers. A collaborative robot may be the saving grace the healthcare industry needs.
Robots Can Lend A Hand
during this era of a global pandemic, more and more healthcare facilities are turning to collaborative robots for assistance. With these robots, the number of nurses and doctors exposed to infected patients can drastically reduce. With the advancements in robotic technology, it is possible to develop robots that can help healthcare workers in performing dangerous tasks like testing for the virus.
Most collaborative robots are made of robotic arms. The special category meant for hospitals include wheels for easier movement. These robots can be programmed to listen to sounds in human organs, collect mouth swab samples, and even perform ultrasounds. Collaborative robots can also be fitted with cameras to reduce the exposure of healthcare workers to sick patients.
In the united states, collaborative robots are actively being used to combat COVID-19. It will soon be possible for test results to be analysed through a mobile device in less than half an hour. Some hospitals are using robots to deliver meals to patients in isolation.
Universal collaborative robots in healthcare before COVID-19
Cobots in lab work and neurorehabilitation
Even before the current global pandemic, collaborative robots were already in use in the healthcare industry. These robots can be programmed to perform simple to complex tasks in hospitals, laboratories, and even in surgical processes. They are used to draw blood, check vital signs, and even deliver hygiene services to patients in need.
In pharmacies, collaborative robots are used to prepare and dispense medication in labs. They can even be used to assist paraplegics in movement and even administer physiotherapy. This reduces the physicians’ workload and frees up their time to perform other tasks that require human intervention.
The Copenhagen hospital in Denmark uses the universal robot UR5 to optimize blood sample sorting and analysis. The use of this robotic arm makes it possible for the laboratory to hit their daily test targets continually. This way, they are able to deliver 90% of lab results within an hour. Still, in Denmark, neuro-rehabilitation hospitals use collaborative robots to offer assistance to patients recovering from stroke-related injuries and blood clots.
These cobots are designed to help patients in their repetitive functional movements, which is part of the recovery process. This technology offers excellent support to therapists by making it possible for them to set specific training programs that can be done by the patients with help from the robots.
Collaborative robots are also widely used in delivering massage sessions as part of physiotherapy. Hospitals around the world are using robots that use expert manipulative massage automation technology. This allows the robotic arm to extend and execute massages through the soft silicone tips on the surface of the arm.
These massage robots are fitted with sensors that measure the stiffness of muscles throughout the body before and after the massage session. This makes it possible for the physician to accurately assess the progress of the patients before and after treatment.
While the actual condition of a patient can only be assessed physically by a doctor, collaborative robots have made healthcare work easier by taking the position of nurses, surgeons, and physiotherapists. This has offered great relief to burdened clinics and hospitals.