Currently health care is experiencing increased use of new technologies. Some of these new technological innovations have been considered by experts as a driver to cost growth in health care. The use of robotic technology is being adopted at an increased rate for instance in the last four years adoption of robotic technology in health care has rapidly increased especially in United States and Europe. Studies indicate that the number of robotic procedures performed in hospital has triples since 2007. For instance the use of robots to carry put surgeries in hospitals is increasingly becoming a common phenomenon. Although experts argue that the use of robots in hospitals has improved delivery of services, this new technology is also associated with some disadvantages for instance it leads to increased cost. This paper tries to look into the pros and cons of increased use robotic technology in health care especially in carrying out surgeries and other clinical where they are increasingly being employed in large numbers (Barbash and Glied, 2010).
Benefits of increased use of robotic technology in health care
The use of robotic technology especially in hospitals has simplified clinical procedures that were once considered very complicated. For instance the use of robotic surgical devices allows the surgeon at console to control the arms of a robot using a remote something that facilitates performance of laparoscopic procedures. When a surgery is done using this procedure, patients stay in hospital for a short period of time and experience less postoperative pain and scarring and the risks of infection or need for blood transfusion is very low than if the open convention surgery was used (Barbash and Glied, 2010).
Although the cost of carrying out robot-based clinical procedures especially surgery is considered very expensive because of the associated initial cost, experts argue that in the near future when robotic technology is fully developed the cost of health care is going to drastically go down as few health personnel will be required. With a medical professional who has appropriate technical-know how, robots can perform clinical procedures quicker and more accurately than conventional procedures leaving the patient with less pain (Lane, 2009).
Robotic diagnostic procedures are increasingly being employed in hospitals. This ranges from exotic scanners to laboratory equipments. These robotic-diagnostic equipments are characterised by consistency and accuracy. This has greatly reduced the possibility of human error that can cause wrong diagnosis. This has enabled accurate prescription by doctors based on the results from the diagnosis (Museum of American heritage 2006).
Robotic devices are increasingly being employed in prosthetics. For instance mechanical replacement of organs and limbs that can interact with the organic system of human being has been one accomplishment that has demonstrated how useful robotic devices can be in health care. Scholars argue that the use of robotic technology is going to take an indispensable part in medicine and in health care at large as many researches are currently being carried out on replacement of vital organs such as the heart, kidney, ears, eyes and limbs with robotic devices that are capable of functioning for a long period of time. Experts argue that if these researches are successfully concluded, it means that patients who need transplant of these organs will no longer worry as robotic devices will be at their disposal. Experts say that since robotic devices are increasingly becoming available, people with restricted movement are going to get relieved. With robotic devices they will be able to move around on nearby their homes (Lane, 2009).
The use of robots in carrying out clinical procedures is associated with high precision and accuracy. For instance experts argues that use of robot-enabled procedures in carrying out a heart surgery is far much safe than the conventional procedures because of the associated small incisions and less blood loss. Robots enabled procedures also allows precise cuts around delicate nerves and tendons during delicate surgeries such as heart surgery (Barbash and Glied, 2010).
The use of robotic technology is increasingly gaining application in a number of rehabilitation programs in healthcare. The use of this technology has increased the feasibility of a number of rehabilitation programs. Experts argue that robots can provide a platform for recovery for instance enhance limb recovery and help restore its functions. Robots can also be employed in monitoring the condition of patients who are undergoing rehabilitation for instance from effects of stroke, injuries and brain or nerve damage (Murphy and Challacombe, 2008).
Other benefits of robotic technology are seen in pharmaceutical industries where robots are employed in manufacturing drugs with consistency quality and at the same time offer cost control in production of drugs. These robots execute various processes and handle drugs without contaminating them. This is something that is very difficult to avoid with human operators. Therefore this ensures that drugs that are used in treatment of various ailments have the desired quality features (Museum of American heritage, 2006).
Disadvantages of increased use of robotic technology in health care
Experts argue that doctors are increasingly employing robotic technology in a number of procedures before even developing an insight on the weakness and merits that are associated with them. Some experts argue that increased use of robotic technology is likely to be associated with increased cost either because they are expensive than the previous treatment procedures or because their introduction leads to an expansion in the number and types of patients that can be treated at a time (Barbash and Glied, 2010).
Experts argue that the introduction of robotic-enabled procedures is an expensive exercise. This is because use of robots for instance in surgery procedures is associated with a very high fixed costs with the price ranging from 1 to 2.5 million US dollars per unit. It is also required that surgeons must carry between 150 and 250 procedures so that they become proficient in their use. This means that the use of robot-enabled clinical procedure will require medical professionals who have tecninical know-how in their operation. Experts argue that if a doctor does not have appropriate technical know-how, then the time required to finish a given clinical procedure will increase exponentially (Barbash and Glied, 2010).
It has been argued that the use robotic-enabled procedures in hospitals are associated with high maintenance costs and many associated consumables than the alternatives. It has further been argued by experts that the use of robots in carrying out clinical procedures for instance in surgery will require more operating time than alternatives if the human operator lacks the appropriate technical know- how and experience (Lane, 2009).
Experts say that for a robot to perform tasks that are complicated, it calls for development of hardware and software components that are complicated and that are accurate, fast in response and with more degrees of freedom. This increases the probability error in an exponential rate. Therefore for complicated tasks, robots are likely to introduce errors that are likely to endanger the lives of patients than the conventional procedures especially if the software and hardware components are not exhaustively tested (Murphy and Challacombe, 2008).
Although the use of robotic technology has been associated with high initial cost, it is increasingly gaining popularity in health care. This technology seems to be doing more good than harm in health sector. For instance with appropriate expertise, surgeries can now be performed more safely and faster also clinical procedure that were once considered difficult and tedious have been made more feasible. Despite the many benefits that are associated with robotic technology, more caution need to be taken in ensuring that before any robotic procedure is adopted it is exhaustedly tested and proved to very safe.