Not too long ago, robotic technology was a preserve of the manufacturing industries and dangerous places where human survival was at risk. Today, a new crop of intelligent robotics penetrates other professional and non-professional fields dominantly run by humans in the past. One of the areas with an emerging increase in robotic technology is the nursing care industry.
The healthcare field applications are endless, and in the year 2021, the projected revenue growth of the robotics industry is $28 billion. The industry is at the forefront of using highly advanced research robotics in different fields such as rehabilitation, surgical procedures, smart prostheses, logistics, medicating patients, and many others. Implementing robots in health care comes with many benefits, but it also its challenges.
Advantages of using nursing care robots
1. Assist bed-ridden patients
Nursing care robots have a system specifically designed to assist patients that cannot move from their beds with the simplest services. A nursing robot will stay either in the patient’s room at all times to attend to their needs at home or in a hospital setting.
Some of the tasks the robot assists with include carrying out household chores, waking them up for their medication, and even administering drugs if programmed to so.
2. Quicker to train
Robotic nurses, compared to humans, are quicker to train. They are also cheaper to maintain as they can work 24/7 throughout the year without the need for off days and repairs or refueling. Robot nurses take on more tasks, including the more dangerous nursing jobs that expose humans to risks from chemicals or infections.
3. Reduction of labor costs
Using robotic nurses reduces human labor costs in health institutions, allowing providers to offer their services to patients at much lower prices. In some hospitals, especially in Japan, which has many robotic nurses in the nursing care department, there is a 65% reduction of human labor costs.
4. Store information and administer treatment
Robots in the nursing care industry can also take other tasks such as transcribing and storing crucial medical information with minimal or no errors. They also help the nursing staff and doctors diagnose patients and administer treatment under the supervision of lower-skilled health workers without higher-skilled professionals or doctors.
Patients with few or no visitors while in hospitals or elderly homes appreciate the companionship they get from the robotic nurses, which keeps them happy and entertained. Robotic nurses also help chronically ill patients and senior adults to become independent, reducing the need for human caregivers and care homes.
6. Helps to address cognitive decline
Patients with cognitive decline issues also benefit from the robotic nurses as they get to do what they need to do at the right times. The robots remind them when to eat, take medication, attend an appointment, and more.
The robots do so with consistent and high accuracy throughout the year, including nights, working hours, and holidays. Unlike humans, robots do not tire but will work endlessly without breaking down from fatigue or boredom, which means the patients are in safe care.
7. Data collection
Robots are also very efficient in monitoring the patients continuously and collecting data for emergency cases such as diabetes and heart failure. They then relay the information fast to the human nurses or doctors for the quickest action.
Disadvantages of robotic nurses
Nursing robots can use surveillance equipment to monitor and record all the patients’ activities and data and relay the same information to other sources may compromise privacy. Even though, in many instances, this feature helps to safeguard the patients, it could lead to patients’ privacy violations at some point.
8. Employment Issues
The rise of robotic nurses in the healthcare industry also means that the demand for human nurses is not as high as it was a couple of years ago, a significant concern in the medical field. Some analysts say that depriving the sector of human healthcare providers could deprive some communities of the medical assistance they need.
Wrapping it up
The rising number of nurse-care robots and their interactions with both patients and the healthcare staff could become a challenge to humans’ safety and security. Manufacturers, especially those producing collaborative robots, have to invest heavily in ensuring that nurse care robots have everything they need.
The needs include regular reprogramming and checks to avoid any mishaps. Other than that, nursing care robots are a welcome addition to the healthcare industry.