Will the OR of the future see robots completely replace human surgeons?
While there are some ways in which robots can replace human involvement during surgery, it’s unlikely that robots will completely replace human surgeons. This is because human intuition, reasoning, and experience will continue to be invaluable. Robots offer doctors and surgeons a more advanced form of decision support, make them faster, and even allow them to work remotely. They are also capable of repeating extremely delicate procedures with incredible precision. However, human doctors will likely still have to control, configure, and monitor the robot in order to meet the specific needs of different surgeries and intervene if something unexpected happens during a procedure.
Robots also fall short when it comes to accounting for human idiosyncrasies. The ability to read a patient's body language, to gauge their emotional state, to assess if they are misrepresenting their situation, or determine if factors in their life may affect their treatment all require personal conversations between the doctor and patient that can’t be automated. There’s no question that robots are helpful tools, but they are most effective when used to help doctors perform to their highest standards—not by replacing them altogether.
This is part 2 of 2 in this Perspectives series. Click here for Part 1.
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