The future of robotics in healthcare: Automating the industry

November 21, 2023
Standard Bots robot visualizer

Revolutionizing healthcare: The future of robotics

Let's take a step back in medical history, where Medical robots made their debut in the healthcare industry in the 1980s.

The journey began in 1985 with the PUMA 560 - a groundbreaking Medical robot that marked a significant milestone in precision medicine. These Surgical robots were adept at performing stereotaxic operations; inserting a needle into the brain for biopsies under controlled guidance.

This revolution eliminated the potential for human error and marked an era that changed the course of history for healthcare organizations.

2000 marked another significant development with the introduction of the da Vinci surgical system. This system set a new standard as the first robotic device to accompany doctors with surgical procedures. The da Vinci and the former PUMA 560 systems played pivotal roles in shaping and transforming the medical industry.

Both were instrumental in enhancing the outcomes of minimally invasive procedures. They set a new benchmark for precision and safety in the medical field and laid the foundation for modern Medical robotics.

One of the most notable aspects of transformation was the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, and real-time data analytics into robotic systems. This advancement opened new doors for innovation, which transcended to:

  • Patient care
  • Administrative tasks
  • Routine logistical tasks
  • Therapeutic robots
  • Rehabilitation robots
  • Logistic robots
  • Telemedicine robots
  • Cleaning and disinfection robots

Enhancing patient care: Robotics in healthcare

Based on the previously mentioned statistics, Hospital and Pharmacy robots are going to be the most invested in Medical robots by 2032. This is to be followed by Surgical robots and Rehabilitation robots. Healthcare providers will benefit from the assistance of robots as they alleviate workloads for healthcare personnel.

By doing so, healthcare workers can focus on immediate patient needs, promoting empathy and human connection and enhancing patient wellbeing. The advantage of robotics in healthcare offers a range of unparalleled efficiencies, such as:

Improved surgical procedures

Surgical robots have revolutionized the healthcare industry. They oversee procedures, making them more precise, safer, and less invasive. Medical robots, such as the da Vinci surgical system, provide surgeons with precise, controlled movements when performing complex operations.

Devices can be programmed or reprogrammed to perform complex orthopedic surgeries, such as hip or knee replacements. Combining 3D imagery and data analysis, these surgical robots can perform and predict outcomes for various medical procedures, allowing the surgeon to control the operation from a distance.

These minimally invasive surgeries require smaller incisions, resulting in less tissue damage and postoperative pain. One of the most significant advantages is the reduction of human error, caused by fatigue or hand tremors. Therefore, they also create a safer operating environment.

Reduced recovery time

The use of Surgical robots in the operating room drastically reduces the risk of infection and enhances the overall care of the patient.

The precision of Surgical Assistance robots leads to shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times. Patients benefit from less pain and discomfort. Healthcare organizations are also able to free up hospital rooms in the process.

Telemedicine robots

Medical robots equipped with sensors or cameras can help bridge the gap between medical providers and patients in underserved areas. Through virtual consultations, patients in outlying areas can receive professional medical help and treatment programs from afar.

These Service robots were especially effective during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Remote monitoring

Medical robots that collect vital data such as blood pressure, pulse rates, and oxygen levels provide necessary real-time data on patient health. This reinforces optimum care and allows doctors to immediately address any abnormalities as they arise. Patients with chronic diseases can particularly benefit from this.

Personalized treatment plans

Medical robots equipped with AI and machine learning algorithms can analyze huge data sets, drawing similarities and conclusions for individual patient scenarios. This kind of robotic assistance can fine-tune treatment care, reduce side effects, and promote a more patient-centric experience.

Breaking barriers: Robotics transforming healthcare

The impact of robotics in healthcare extends further than the operating room. It breaks barriers across multiple medical domains. From routine tasks to direct patient care and emotional support, Medical robots showcase their versatility within the healthcare sector.

Administrative tasks

Administrative tasks take up a large portion of healthcare workers' time, from filing patient records to administering medication. Autonomous mobile robots are transforming how this is done, as seen with Aethon's Transporter, Unloading and Grouping (TUG) model.

The TUG Service robot assists with routine logistical tasks. These Mobile Delivery robots complete tasks autonomously, using machine learning to map their surroundings to make on-scene decisions. TUG bots can typically carry up to 998 lbs (453 kg) across hospital departments, ranging from bins to laundry and laboratory specimens.

  • Furthermore, Service robots, such as the SAM model, can be used for scheduling appointments and managing patient records.
  • PharmaAssist Robots can help dispense patient medications and keep track of prescriptions.
  • Cleaning and disinfection Xenex robots use ultraviolet light to remove harmful pathogens in clinical settings. These robotic systems reduce the spread of hospital-acquired infections and the physical demands of human workers.

Direct patient care

Therapeutic robots play a crucial role in direct patient care.

For instance, Therapeutic Exoskeleton robots - or Modular robots - assist patients with mobility issues and help patients regain movement and strength during physiotherapy. These wearable devices, some equipped with prosthetic robotic arms, speed up the patient's recovery process and reduce the physical strain on physiotherapists.

For elderly patients, Medical robots are used to monitor their vital signs, dispense medications, and assist with mobility.

Emotional support

Other types of Service robots include Social robots or Social Companion robots such as the Jibo, Pepper, or Buddy models. These "friendly" social bots are designed to interact with patients through conversation. This is especially helpful in senior care facilities.

These Social robots enhance patient care within various healthcare facilities, offering companionship and alleviating feelings of loneliness. In some cases, healthcare technology transcends to advanced AI technologies that enhance cognitive engagement - with these bots being able to recognize and respond to human emotions.

Standard Bots routine editor

The promising outlook: Robotics advancements in healthcare

Robotic systems are rapidly evolving. Robotic surgery, AI-assisted diagnostic, and drug-dispensing robots not only showcase the broadening scope of healthcare systems but facilitate a healthcare future that is more precise, efficient, and accessible.

  • Origami Robots have also been used to assist with minimally invasive procedures. These tiny ingestible bots are controlled by skilled professionals to treat wounds or remove foreign objects from the stomach lining.
  • PharmaAssist Robots, as mentioned before, are designed to automate the medication dispensing process. They store and manage various medications, ensuring the correct dose. This level of automation frees up pharmacists' and other caregivers' time so they can focus on patient care instead. These Service robots are instrumental in streamlining manual tasks and reducing medication-related errors.
  • AI-assisted diagnostic robots perform multiple functions with the help of advanced algorithms. They can analyze medical data - such as scans, blood tests, and genetic information - and assist medical professionals with early disease detection.
    For instance, these Medical robots can analyze pathology, X-rays, and MRI scans more quickly and accurately than traditional methods. They are data-driven and identify anomalies that may be missed by the human eye. This is crucial in the early detection of conditions such as cancer, empowering doctors to implement preventative therapy or surgery as soon as possible.
  • Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a way for robots to understand the feel of human interaction and the ability to understand sense pressure. This is monumental in terms of facilitating patient care.

Improving efficiency: The role of robotics In healthcare

Robotics in healthcare plays a crucial role in streamlining healthcare workflows. Healthcare workers can benefit from robotic systems in various ways, such as:

Optimized workflow

Robots, such as TUG models, can efficiently navigate hospital rooms and corridors to deliver medical supplies, medications, and lab specimens. These automated systems optimize logistics within healthcare facilities, freeing up medical personnel.

Surgical robots, such as the da Vinci system, provide surgeons with enhanced precision and control. This leads to shorter hospital stays and reduced recovery times for patients.

Telemedicine robots assist healthcare workers with treating and diagnosing patients in outlying areas. Additionally, Pharmacy robots can optimize medication dispensing.

Service robots drastically automate repetitive tasks such as data entry and medication dispensing. This not only optimizes workflows but also minimizes the risk of human error.

Empowering healthcare professionals

By automating administrative, time-intensive tasks, Medical robots are enhancing healthcare workers' roles rather than replacing them. This shift allows doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers to focus more on their patients.

By eliminating (or reducing) the paperwork involved, time is freed up for healthcare professionals, contributing to less burnout and improved job satisfaction.

Embracing innovation: Robotics and the future of healthcare

With the ever-evolving medical landscape, robotics in healthcare are consistently transforming. Their transformative journey is characterized by AI integration, telemedicine expansion, and the increasing accessibility of robotic technology. Embracing these technological advancements not only makes procedures safer but also optimizes the healthcare industry.

As robotic technology is becoming more mainstream, the price points are becoming significantly less. With this in mind, advanced robotics are accessible to smaller clinics as opposed to larger hospitals.

Collaborative robots - or "Cobots" - are making their mark in the industry. These smaller, more flexible robots are designed to work alongside human workers and can easily be integrated into existing healthcare systems.

From science fiction to reality: Robotics in healthcare

If you had told doctors 100 years ago that robots would perform medical procedures, they would have told you that that was absurd.

But the journey of robotics in healthcare, from their humble beginnings to what they can perform today, is nothing short of spectacular. The transition from man to machine is best illustrated through various groundbreaking technologies that have become part of the healthcare system we see today.

  • The Da Vinci surgical system epitomizes the advancement of robotics in surgery, allowing surgeons to perform complex operations with precision and ease.
  • TUG robots represent Autonomous Mobile robots in hospital logistics and day-to-day operations, navigating corridors and delivering medical supplies with the click of a button.
  • Therapeutic exoskeletons have made leaps and bounds in physical therapy, helping patients recover from injuries, strokes, or traumatic brain injury.

Empowering healthcare professionals: The rise of robotic technology

The rise of robotic assistance isn't just the advancement of medical tools, it's about empowering healthcare facilities. From surgeons to nursing staff, robotic technologies have enhanced working conditions and pushed medical procedures further than we could ever have imagined.

  • Surgical robots have been revolutionary in the operating rooms, providing surgeons with unparalleled precision and reducing fatigue.
  • Service robots alleviate repetitive tasks, like medication dispensing and medical reporting, for nursing staff and caregivers.
  • Robotic assistance in healthcare organizations plays an important role in combating staffing shortages. Autonomous mobile robots assist in transporting medical supplies from one department to the next and Cleaning robots are used to sanitize and cleanse healthcare facilities.


How is robotic assistance impacting the healthcare industry?

Medical robots can perform lab tests, analyze medical data, remove plaque from arteries, and perform tissue biopsies. Robotic assistance extends to comprehensive patient care as well, such as personalized treatment plans and diagnosing from a distance.

Will robots replace doctors and nurses?

No, robots will not replace healthcare professionals. Medical robotics work within healthcare facilities to enhance medical procedures and streamline mundane tasks.

Final thoughts

The journey from the pioneering PUMA 560 to Standard Bot's sophisticated RO1 Collaborative robot illustrates a remarkable evolution in medical technology. These robotic innovations are not mere medical tools but are transformative partners in healthcare delivery.

From Surgical Assistance robots aiding in complex operations to Service robots assisting with repetitive admin-related tasks, one thing is clear - Medical robotics are not a fleeting trend. Rather, they are a fundamental shift and an indispensable part of modern medicine!

Standard Bots equipment manager
Standard Bots camera vision
Press contacts