Research and development-led innovation is changing the landscape of robotics technology in healthcare

Research and development-led innovation is changing the landscape of robotics technology in healthcare

The transformative potential of digital technology has been felt in global healthcare more than at any time in the past decade. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, wearable technology, and robotics is beginning to change the healthcare landscape while raising the bar for care delivery. Robots, in particular, have disrupted the healthcare sector with a host of benefits, and they are creating a bold new era in personalized medicine, as technology makes healthcare more efficient, accessible, and equitable.

Expand access and health care for all

In India, nearly 70% of surgeries are performed as open procedures. 1 Globally, approximately 60% of surgeries are performed as open procedures. The rest are minimally invasive surgeries (MIS), with only 3% of those being robot-assisted. 1 MIS has significantly reduced postoperative recovery time compared to open surgeries because it provides fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, and a faster return to normal activities. 2.4 The adoption of new technologies such as robotics along with artificial intelligence can expand access in areas where there is limited infrastructure and help move forward steadily towards achieving India’s healthy goals.

When it comes to robot-assisted surgery, technology is developing very quickly. For us, this means supporting ongoing research and development efforts on robotic-assisted surgery platforms that can aid surgeons in the operating room and enhance the patient’s procedural experience. When Medtronic set out to create a new robot-assisted soft tissue surgical system called the Hugo Robot-assisted Surgery System (RAS), we met with hundreds of surgeons and hospital executives and their contributions helped us think differently and craft some of our design choices, including a modular architecture and open console.

Leading innovation in surgical procedures through research and development

The advent of robot-assisted surgery (RAS) has provided an advanced and precise way to perform minimally invasive surgery. At Medtronic, we believe that every patient around the world deserves access to high-quality surgical care. We believe robotic technology, combined with data and analytics, can help reduce unwanted variance and improve patient outcomes in the future. All of this is possible with strong research and development at the core of every innovation.

For example, the research and development team at Medtronic Engineering and Innovation Center (MEIC) in India played an important role in launching the Medtronic Hug RAS system. MEIC provides research and development solutions to all Medtronic business groups globally. In the case of the Hugo RAS system, the center has contributed in a wide range of areas, including software, hardware, systems engineering, and quality. And despite the unprecedented global pandemic, the team was able to maintain critical momentum in developing the system, which is now available for clinical use in India. The teams at MEIC continue to support our surgical robotics business as we pursue future innovations in this exciting space. We’ve also progressively developed and adopted our technology capabilities in data analytics to create a powerful practice of analyzing data and extracting meaningful insights to help streamline processes for clinicians and standardize quality of care.

Our focus on robot-assisted surgery, combined with data and analytics, will result in a continuous cadence of product innovations that solve problems and continue to redefine surgical standards. This is possible with teams that include engineering expertise in a wide range of areas, including hardware and software engineering design, systems engineering and software quality engineering. Our team in India is shaping this exciting future today.

Being able to innovate is one thing, but in healthcare, it is critical to keep the patient and the end user at the center of everything we do, to create technology that is useful and problem-solving.



The opinions expressed above are those of the author.

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