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Managing the Future of Healthcare: How Robot Nurses & AI Will Shift Healthcare

Technology applications in healthcare are growing fast. The global healthcare robotics market is predicted to reach $11.4 billion by 2023, and the market for artificial intelligence in healthcare has the potential to reach $36.1 billion by 2025, according to BID Research and ReportLinker, respectively. While robotics and AI may benefit healthcare in many ways, implementing these technologies requires healthcare leaders with skills and foresight.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by Maryville University’s online bachelor’s in healthcare management program.

How tech-innovations like AI and robotics are having a positive impact on the healthcare industry

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Robot Nurses

Communications of the ACM, a computing and information technology publication, defines robots as “physically embodied systems capable of enacting physical change in the world,” using sensor data to make decisions. Robots vary in their degree of autonomy but are proving quite useful in healthcare.

Overview of Robots in Healthcare

Some of the settings where robots can be found in healthcare include surgery, telehealth, primary care, and outpatient care. The functions they perform include drawing blood, offering patient companionship, and performing monotonous tasks. The benefits they can provide to the healthcare process include an increased precision and accuracy, a decrease in human workload, patient stress, and staffing requirements during night shifts, and improved performance across a host of tasks.

Xenex Robot

The Xenex robot is a portable disinfection system that pulses xenon, an inert gas that destroys bacteria, mold, and fungus. According to the Medical Futurist, it causes more serious “cellular damage to [harmful] microorganisms than other devices for disinfection.” It’s delivered positive results — the Westchester Medical Center saw a 70% decrease in C. diff, a hospital-acquired infection, in its ICU after deploying the Xenex robots.

Pepper Robot

Pepper is a “social robot” that can communicate in 20 languages and determine if it is communicating with a man, a woman, or a child. Pepper can also work as a receptionist, where it can guide visitors to patients and calm children down prior to surgery.

Tug Robot

Tug can haul up to 453 kilograms of medications, lab specimens, and other materials. The robot is commanded via a touch-screen interface and uses lasers to self-navigate. Additional capabilities include the call and use of an elevator, meal delivery, and the removal of waste from the cart.

RIBA

Short for “Robot for Interactive Body Assistance,” RIBA can lift patients 40 times a day. This enables it to move them out of bed, help them stand, and turn them in bed.

AI in U.S. Healthcare Administration

AI technologies in healthcare have the potential to create annual savings of $150 billion by 2026. These savings can benefit almost every area of healthcare. For instance, robot-assisted surgery is projected to save $40 billion, and virtual nursing assistants are predicted to save $20 billion.

How AI Makes a Difference in Administration

$91 billion can be saved in annual healthcare spending as a result of more efficient administration. Some of the ways AI can help with clinical efficiency include paperwork review, data entry, scheduling follow-ups, scanning lab results, and automation of routine EHR-related processes.

There are other benefits to AI usage that go beyond efficiency. For instance, AI can identify infection patterns and patients at risk of developing a condition. It can also increase the precision, efficiency, and impact of timely interventions. Additionally, it can also reduce cognitive overload documentation requirements and user burnout caused by EHR use.

AI Technologies

One of the key pieces of AI tech is IBM’s Watson, which analyzes medical papers to help doctors formulate more efficient and personalized treatment plans. Another key AI tech is Care Angel’s “Virtual Nurse Assistant,” which provides check-in calls to patients and alerts physicians in need of attention, resulting in lower readmission rates and higher patient engagement. A third AI tech, Google’s Deepmind, mines medical records to increase the quality and efficiency of healthcare services.

Skills Healthcare Managers Need for the Future

CEOs of healthcare organizations and medical and health services managers are responsible for leading their organizations through the process of adopting new technologies, be they nurse robots or AI software. To keep up with changes in healthcare, these professionals must possess skills that will help them adapt.

Medical and Health Services Manager

Those in this role are tasked with setting departmental goals, ensuring facility compliance with regulations, preparing budgets, and creating work schedules. The position requires strong analytical, communication, and leadership skills, as well as tech-related skills like adaptability.

CEO of a Healthcare Organization

Healthcare CEOs are charged with leading and managing organizations, setting long-term goals and strategies, representing the organization to investors, and ensuring the healthcare organization upholds its core values. The position requires advanced strategic thinking, financial management, and leadership skills, a strong business acumen, and competency in tech-related innovation.

Conclusion

Recent advancements in robotics and AI have already brought measurable benefits to healthcare organizations. To continue seeing the value of investing in these technologies, healthcare employees across all levels must recognize their role in adapting to process changes and embrace a safer and more efficient workplace.