The medical world has been teetering on a knife’s edge for the past year and a half, but a better future is looming. Read more below.
- Encoding Glass with Health Data
In a world first, a British surgical robot encoded surgical data on a glass platter in May of 2021. Such data is already proving itself to be invaluable, both in training future surgeons, and in training better, more precise and complex artificial intelligence systems for surgical robots.
Data is the lifeblood of any strong AI, and it is only by gathering and sorting it that we can hope to usher in a new era of robotic surgeons. This latest development represents a major milestone in surgery.
- Minimixing Personnel with Advanced Equipment
Of course, while surgical robots will no doubt prove pivotal going forward, there remain many surgical procedures which will continue to demand a human approach, and we cannot lose focus on the development of those vital pieces of equipment that meet with the surgeon’s needs throughout the course of any given operation.
A recent development from June Medical on the Lonestar Retractor, for instance, has already begun to make waves across the surgical community. Its ability to self-retain, and to offer single-handed adjustments to the surgeon, improves safety in many ways – from increasing visibility, to lowering the need for aids and assistants to be present within the OR (thus minimising the risk of infection).
- Complementing Human Intelligence with AI
Artificial intelligence has, under many guises, been interpreted as a ‘replacement’ for human intelligence. This is, of course, far from the truth, and no better example exists than the one that springs forth from the medical world.
While a computer can never replace, or even live up to, the highly nuanced and uniquely human ways in which doctors, nurses and surgeons diagnose, treat, and understand their patients, it can offer a valuable complement to their efforts, and free-up their time, energy and attention by seeing to myriad tasks, such as data analysis, and by noticing minute changes in a patient’s condition at all stages of care.
- Training, Pre-Op, and the Involvement of the Senses
From virtual reality to 3D printing, the utilisation of advanced, multi-sensory technologies in the educative, training and preoperative stages of medicine and surgery offer a brand new line of inquiry for those working on both sides of the coin.
From universities to the surgeon’s office, even the most complex surgeries – which, until now, could only be prepared for in ways grounded within theory – can become tangible, interactive, and experiences in-and-of-themselves before the patient even steps foot within the building.
- A Profound, Structural Change
In a recent article for the Telegraph, Jeroen Tas pointed out that, for many centuries – and in spite of the incredible developments we have seen, even within our own lifetimes – the medical world has manifested as a ‘sickcare’ system. In other words, hospitals and medical resources have acted largely as reactionary – they offer help to those who, in that moment, need it.
In the future, a profound structural change is anticipated to take place – one in which healthcare is for everyone, even before they get sick.
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